The No. 8 seed UMass Minutemen will face the No. 4 seed St. Bonaventure Bonnies in the semifinals of the 2012 Atlantic 10 Tournament on Saturday.
The Minutemen arrived in the semifinal by way of a shocking, 77-71, upset of the No. 1 seed Temple Owls in the quarterfinals on Friday after outlasting Duquesne in the opening round on Tuesday. The Bonnies had a first round bye and then defeated St. Joseph's, 71-68, on Friday.
UMass won the meeting during the regular season, 76-67, on Feb. 8 in Massachusetts. Jesse Morgan scored 24 points in that contest to lead the way. Andrew Nicholson scored 24 points in the losing effort.
Nicholson was the A-10 Player of the Year and leads the Bonnies in scoring (17.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 per game). Chaz Williams leads UMass in scoring with 16.4 points per game, 6.4 assists per game and 2.2 steals per game. So far in the A-10 Tournament, Williams has averaged 20.5 points, 7 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Nicholson had a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds in the Bonnies' win over St. Joe's in the quarterfinals.
One thing that aided UMass in the regular season matchup was that the Bonnies were cold from behind the arc, hitting just 2-16 attempts. In their A-10 quarterfinal matchup, St. Bonaventure was just 1-8 on three-pointers and were 7-23 from behind the arc in their last regular season game. If the Bonnies can return to normal from deep range and still have Nicholson working hard inside the paint, it will be hard for UMass to continue their run.
The winner will move on to the final of the tournament on Sunday at 1 p.m. with the conference's automatic bid into the 2012 NCAA Tournament on the line.
Game Time: 1 p.m.
Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
TV: CBS Sports Network
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