St. Bonaventure Wins Conference Opener, Faces Big Test Against Temple

Ryan LazoContributor IJanuary 9, 2011

Ogo Adegboye, team captain, is leading the nation in minutes played while keeping the young Bonnies heading in the right direction. Picture by
Ogo Adegboye, team captain, is leading the nation in minutes played while keeping the young Bonnies heading in the right direction. Picture by

Some teams like the three ball, others play tough defense, but it seems the St. Bonaventure Bonnies have found something else to their liking: Overtime.

Thus far on the season, the Bonnies have played eight overtime periods, which adds up to another full game played.

However, their efforts have not come in vain. 

In a four-OT thriller against the Ohio Bobcats, a game that was featured among SportsCenter's Top 10 plays, the Bonnies managed to come out on top by a margin of 112-107.

Ohio, for those who do not remember, made the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament.

A few games after the Ohio thriller, the Bonnies found themselves playing Virginia Tech, a team picked to finish second in the ACC preseason polls. The Bonnies seemed to be outclassed in the early going, falling behind 21-6.

However, in typical Bonnies fashion, they clawed their way back into the game while eventually forcing an overtime period. 

Unfortunately for the Bonnies, this effort was squandered when their star center, Andrew Nicholson (he of the 21.4 ppg), suffered cramps during the OT period. The Bonnies found themselves outgunned without Nicholson on the court and fell to the Hokies, 76-68. 

The sixth, seventh and eighth overtime periods came Saturday afternoon in the Bonnies' Atlantic-10 Conference opener against the Charlotte 49ers. During the OT periods, the Bonnies displayed their never-say-die attitude, while hustling for every loose ball.

They are very much the blue collar team, earning everything that comes their way and it was that work ethic that propelled them to the 92-88 victory over the 49ers.

It was a game that should not have gone into overtime, as the Bonnies had a commanding 12-point lead at the half only to see Charlotte go on a 12-0 run to start the second.

However, the resilience of the Bonnies ruled the day, something the Bona faithful have seen much of this season. Against St. John's earlier this year, the Bonnies trailed by as many as 13 before Nicholson hit the game winning jumper with just over five seconds remaining.

The Bonnies have been battle tested many times this season, all of which has prepared them greatly for their next Atlantic-10 matchup against the Temple Owls.

Last season saw the Owls ranked nationally much of the year, including their visit to the Reilly Center, which turned into a blowout. However, the Bonnies earned themselves another chance to topple the Owls in Atlantic City and gave them a scare before falling again.

This time, there is a different feel in the air. The Bonnies are improved in every area, Temples Juan Fernandez is questionable for Wednesday's game, the gap has closed, the Bonnies smell blood.

The Owls are undefeated at home, barely surviving a scare by the St. Louis Bilkins who are playing with a short roster. The Owls were too much for the Bilkins at the end, winning by five, but it will take a better effort for the Owls to defeat the Bonnies.

It's the second A-10 game of the season, but it is so much more. A win at Temple can propel the Bonnies towards the top of the conference with their confidence soaring. 

The Bonnies are invading Temple, with a chance to send a statement to the rest of the league. We're back.