A-10 Tournament: St. Louis vs St. Bonaventure Prediction
St. Louis vs St. Bonaventure Preview
The A-10 Tournament Final pits two teams who were not expected to be here after the regular season concluded.
It will be the sixth-seeded Billikens taking on No. 4 seed St. Bonaventure tomorrow at 1 p.m. (ET). The game will be televised on CBS. The winner receives the A-10’s automatic bid into the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship–and likely only bid into the Tournament this season.
The Billikens (22-12) held Davidson to just 25.9 percent shooting (17.2 percent in the second half alone). The score was tied at halftime, but St. Louis dismantled the Wildcats in the second half, out-scoring them 38-15 and holding them to just two 3-pointers on 18 attempts.
Javon Bess led the Billikens offensively, burying 10-of-14 shots from the field for a game-high 24 points. Tramaine Isabell Jr. continued his hot play, scoring 19 points and dishing out eight assists. D.J. Foreman brought down a team-high 11 rebounds, while Hasahn French had seven points, 10 boards and four assists.
Sunday will mark the Billikens’ second appearance in the A-10 title game. They won the league tournament in 2013, which was also held at Barclays Center. Saint Louis also won a Conference USA Championship in 2000, known as the “Miracle in Memphis” when it won four games in four days.
Kyle Lofton scored 23 points to lead St. Bonaventure to a 68-51 rout of Rhode Island in the semifinals, earning them an appearance in the A-10 title game for the first time since 2012, when the Bonnies defeated Xavier, 67-56.
Rhode Island led by two at halftime, 29-27, after opening the game with a 20-10 run spanning the first 10 minutes. With 4:08 left in the half, the Rams’ lead grew to as much as 15 at 29-14 and they never trailed in the opening 20 minutes.
“It was a microcosm of our whole year. We were down. We were struggling. But the kids, they believed,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said. “The last five minutes of the first half were crucial.”
The Billikens were picked to win the A-10 regular season title in the preseason, but an up-and-down season prevented that. They are clicking now like they were thought to do the entire season–but it may be St. Bonaventure who is the hotter team.
The Bonnies have won three in a row and nine of their last ten games, including an 11-point victory over this Saint Louis squad to end the regular season.
LINE: -1 St. Bonaventure
Dan’s Bet: Over 119.5
Score Prediction: Saint Louis 65 St. Bonaventure 63