LSU routs St. Bonaventure 76-61 to advance to NCAA Second Round
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Freshman Cameron Thomas scored 27 points in another impressive performance and his LSU teammates provided the rebounding muscle, leading the eighth-seeded Tigers past ninth-seeded St. Bonaventure 76-61 on Saturday and into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
LSU (19-9) can reach its second straight Sweet 16 if it beats either Michigan, the top seed in the Midwest Region, or No. 16 Texas Southern on Monday.
Darius Days and Aundre Hyatt each had 13 points and Trendon Watford had 11. Days and Watford also had 11 rebounds each while Hyatt grabbed 10. The Tigers have won five of six.
Jaren Holmes scored 18 points and Osun Osunniyi had 15 points and nine rebounds for St. Bonaventure (16-5). Jalen Adaway had 11 points in his home state.
Once the Tigers warmed up, the Bonnies never had a chance.
LSU started pulling away with a 9-2 spurt that gave it a 21-12 lead late in the first half, and when the Tigers opened the second half on a 12-2 spurt to make it 40-24, the Bonnies never got closer than nine.
St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies relied heavily all season on one of the nation’s stingiest defenses. But on a day they shot poorly and got outrebounded 49-30, they couldn’t contain the more athletic Tigers.
LSU: Coach Will Wade’s team seemed to be in sync throughout last week’s SEC Tournament and was back at it for the final 30 minutes Saturday. The Tigers will need to play 40 strong minutes to make a second straight Sweet 16.
St. Bonaventure and LSU were a combined 3 of 24 from the field during the first eight minutes, missing 12 straight 3s. There were other problems, too. Watford went to the bench with his second foul seven minutes into the game and guard Javonte Cook ended up there, too, after drawing his second — a technical foul with 10:40 left in the first half. St. Bonaventure guard Dominick Welch injured his right ankle in the first half before returning.
St. Bonaventure paused its activities on Nov. 19, delaying its season opener from Nov. 25 to Dec. 15. The Bonnies had six COVID-19-related cancellations during nonconference play and a rough start to February when they lost three times and had two cancellations in what was supposed to be a six-game stretch.
For LSU, COVID-19 protocols created a messy schedule. In addition to postponing three mid-December games because of health and safety protocols and losing Wade on Dec. 14 because of a positive test, the Tigers had eight additional postponements or cancellations, five rescheduled games and had seven of their last 10 regular-season games on the road.
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