ROCHESTER – Marcus Posley produced one of the great performances in St. Bonaventure history Wednesday night.
The senior guard scored a career-high 47 points to lead the Bonnies to a victory over St. Joseph’s.
The win moved the Bonnies up to the No. 2 position in the Atlantic 10 Conference with one game to go in the regular season. Bona improved to 21-7 overall and 13-4 in conference. The Bonnies have won four straight and nine of their last 10.
The outcome also gave Bona another marquee win to add to its resume as a candidate for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. St. Joe’s fell to 24-6 overall and 13-4 in conference.
St. Joe’s won the battle but lost the war. Burned by Jay Adams’ 31 points a month ago, the Hawks devoted extra defenders to the Bonnies’ star guard. Adams scored just six points.
Posley found holes all over the St. Joe’s defense and had the best shooting night of his career. He made 15 of 19 shots from the field, including 6 of 7 three-pointers.
Posley’s total came just four points shy of the school record of 51 set by Bob Lanier in 1969.
Bona got 22 from senior forward Dion Wright.
St. Joe’s star DeAndre’ Bembry had 18 points for the Hawks but made just 5 of 13 shots.
Fast start: Bona played arguably its best game of the season in beating St. Joe’s in Philadelphia a month ago, 83-73. The Bonnies picked up where they left off to open this game.
Bona shot 57.7 percent over the first 20 minutes to take a 41-28 lead into intermission. Posley scored 18 points in the first half on 6 of 7 shooting from the field. St. Joe’s did a good job defending Adams, who scored 31 in the first meeting, but that left secondary defenders on Posley. He took advantage.
Bona outscored the Hawks, 22-7, over the final eight minutes. Posley scored eight in a span of 1:10, hitting a three-pointer from the wing, blowing past Bembry for a layup and hitting three free throws after getting fouled on a deep shot.
Bona held the ball for the last shot and got a standing ovation from the crowd over the final 20 seconds. Gregg hit a 7-footer on the baseline with two seconds left to give Bona its 13-point halftime edge.
Ranking: St. Joe’s stood 26th in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index. Bona stood 35th. There are four other A-10 teams in the top 68 of the RPI list. VCU is 44, George Washington 61 and Davidson 66. The A-10 is the seventh rated conference in the country. Bona entered the day 2-2 against top-50 teams in the RPI and 5-5 against top-100 teams.
Twenty: This season is the first time since 1976-77 that Bona has won 20 games in the regular season. Overall it is the 14th season of 20-plus wins in school history. Bona also has set a program record for A-10 wins in a season.
Iron men: Bona’s reserves have played only 21.7 percent of the minutes this season, which ranks 344th out of 351 Division I teams, according to the analytics site Kenpom.com. Adams ranks second in the A-10 in minutes played at 37.2 a game. Posley is third at 36.9. Wright is seventh at 36.6. The bench for St. Joe’s has played 28.9 percent of the minutes.
Nationally: Adams’ three-point percentage of 45.1 ranks 14th in the nation. Bona’s free-throw shooting percentage of 77.8 ranks second in the nation behind only Villanova (78.2).
Series: St. Joe’s leads the series, 47-22. Bona had won the past four and seven of the past nine.
Hawk notes: St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli entered the game with a career record of 399-270 over 21 seasons at the Philadelphia school. His teams have made five NCAA Tournaments and six NITs.
In the house: It was the second straight year Bona played an A-10 foe in Rochester. Last year’s game against George Mason drew 4,032. Bona opted to shift an A-10 game to the Flower City rather than a non-conference game when the A-10 increased its league schedule to 18 games.
Up next: Bona plays at St. Louis at 7 p.m. Saturday. Bona beat St. Louis, 65-62, in the Reilly Center on Feb. 7. St. Louis, which entered Wednesday’s action tied for 10th, has played well of late. The Billikens defeated George Mason and Fordham and lost to Dayton in overtime (52-49) in the past two weeks.