St. Bonaventure never trailed in their 82-72 win over La Salle in the first of four games of the opening round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. Bonnies center Youssou Ndoye had an impressive 19 point, 10 rebound performance against La Salle’s Jerrell Wright. The matchup between those two players was an extremely pleasurable one to watch. Wright finished with a game-high 26 points and 9 rebounds.
But the Bonnies were too much for the Explorers to handle, shooting 54 percent from the floor and 90 percent from the free throw line. Forward Marquise Simmons played possibly his best game of the season with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Senior captain, Charlon Kloof had 14 points and gave the crowd a show with some nice dunks and acrobatic layups. But it was Ndoye who carried the load, scoring deep in the paint early and often. Ndoye picked up his fourth foul on a technical with over 13 minutes left in the game and La Salle took advantage and brought the game to within one point. But then Dion Wright came in and scored nine big points in Ndoye’s absence.
La Salle got good performances out of Steve Zack, the conference’s leader in double-doubles, who finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Tyreek Duren who finished with 15 points. The Explorers cut the deficit down to one with 12 minutes left, but never got over the hump. They shot just 15-22 from the line, with many of those misses coming down the stretch.
St. Bonaventure will take on the number one seeded St. Louis at noon tomorrow in the first quarterfinal game.