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Monday, March 14, 2016

St. Bonaventure Earns NIT Invite; Denied NCAA spot

St. Bonaventure is a No. 1 seed in the National Invitation Tournament and will host Wagner College this Wednesday, March 16 at the Reilly Center. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. 
The regular season co-champion of the Atlantic 10 Conference, St. Bonaventure (22-8) earned an at-large berth.  The winner of Wednesday's game will advance to face the winner of the Creighton-Alabama opening round game.
Mark Schmidt, the Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year, led the Bonnies to a share of the A-10 regular season championship – the first in program's 37 years in the conference. The Bonnies set a school record with 14 A-10 wins and tied a program record with 22 wins in the regular season. 
"The NIT is a great tournament and we hope to have a great crowd. Our goal now is to show the (NCAA) committee they made a mistake," Schmidt said. "Our goal is to make a run to Madison Square Garden."
This is St. Bonaventure's first NIT appearance since 2002 but 16th in school history. The others were 1951, 1952, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1964, 1971, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1995, 1998, and 2001. St. Bonaventure won the NIT championship in 1977.
The Bonnies won 10 of their final 11 regular season games before falling to Davidson, 90-86 in overtime, Friday in the quarterfinals of the A-10 Tournament. St. Bonaventure's top three scorers, senior guard Marcus Posley (19.7), sophomore guard Jaylen Adams (17.7) and senior forward Dion Wright (16.9) combine to average 54.3 points per game. Adams was named to the A-10 all-conference first team while Posley was a second team selection. Posley is the second leading scorer in the Atlantic 10. Junior forward Denzel Gregg, the A-10's co-sixth man of the year, averages 9.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game.  The Bonnies, who are 13-2 at home this season, lead the Atlantic 10 in three-point field goal percentage (.377) and are fourth nationally in free throw percentage (.772).
Wagner is 22-10. The Seahawks lost to Fairleigh Dickinson in the championship game of the Northeast Conference. Wagner won seven of its last eight games. Corey Henson (13.7 points per game) and Michael Carey (12.6) are the top scorers on a balanced team.
Ticket information for the game will be released Monday morning. Season ticket holders will have the right of first refusal to purchase their season seats.