A-10 Absolves Court-Storming St. Bonaventure Students

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The Buffalo News (New York)


The St. Bonaventure student body is off the hook.

The Atlantic 10 Conference said the students were not responsible for the administrative technical foul called at the end of regulation in Saturday's St. Bonaventure game against Virginia Commonwealth. The conference clarified the decision that cost the Bonnies the game.

The conference said the actions of a security guard who delayed the game by picking up the ball with 0.5 seconds left and a fan who ran into an official caused the technical.

Both of those events occurred before the students stormed the court to celebrate an apparent 66-65 Bona victory.

VCU subsequently made the free throw it was awarded for the technical and then won the game in overtime, 83-77. Both Bona's and VCU's coaches were told during the game by the officials that the students' actions were responsible.

The conference's statement serves, more or less, as an apology to the students.

From ABControlling Court Storming At Athletic Events

The officials will be disciplined, the conference said, for not stopping the game with 0.5 seconds to go, after Bona's Matt Mobley hit a go-ahead three-point shot. The officiating crew included Gary Prager, Larry Scirotto and Anthony Franklin.

The Atlantic 10 said in a statement: "Although the game officials cited crowd interference as the rationale for assessing the administrative technical foul at the end of regulation in the VCU-St. Bonaventure men's basketball game, that interpretation was inaccurately associated with the SBU students and fans storming the court during regulation."

"The administrative technical foul was assessed for multiple reasons. The most significant was an individual taking the game ball from the inbounding baseline (assuming time had expired) and walking down the sideline, causing the VCU player to look for the ball, and chase the individual to secure the ball for inbound. Simultaneously, one of the game officials collided with a fan on the court, prior to the inbound toss. It was after these violations that the clock expired, and the students and fans stormed the court with :00 on the clock.

"As a result of this misrepresentation of the administrative technical foul assessed to St. Bonaventure, which reflected poorly on the SBU student body, the officiating crew will be disciplined for not immediately stopping the game for disruption of play.

"There were an unfortunate series of events in this game, which impacted both institutions and the A-10 ... thus, the conference will continue to work with all involved including the game officials for stronger game management in the future."

St. Bonaventure acknowledged it needs to make further efforts to try to prevent students from storming the court.

A statement from Bona coach Mark Schmidt: "Comments that I made after last night's game may have been misconstrued by some people. Our students did not come onto the court until the buzzer sounded. However, to ensure the future safety of everyone - the fans, the players and the officials - we need to put proper protocols in place which will prevent anyone from accessing the court while a game is in progress. We need to work together to ensure a high level of safety. We expect to win. We are as good as any team in the conference. It is unfortunate that some fans felt it necessary to come onto the court before the game concluded. We need to work together to address this properly."

Tonight's game

After running off seven wins in a row, the Canisius men's team has had trouble putting together two wins in a row. It hasn't happened in the last three weeks or so. Now the Golden Griffins get another chance to get that second win. They play at Saint Peter's in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game (7 p.m., Radio 1230 AM).

Canisius is 14-10 overall, 7-6 in the MAAC. The Griffs are coming off a good win at Siena. Phil Valenti had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way. Canisius is a game behind Saint Peter's (12-11, 8-5) in the MAAC.

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February 6, 2017


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