St. Bonaventure guard Tim Winn has issued the challenge. We're about to find out if he'll get the answer he wants.
Winn scored four straight points in the final 33 seconds Thursday night to snap a tie and lift Bona to a 68-63 win over La Salle before 4,632 at the Reilly Center.
Afterward, the Niagara Falls native was already talking about how the Bonnies need to string some wins together, starting with Saturday's home game against Atlantic 10 East-leading Temple.
The Bonnies (9-11, 3-5) are tied for fourth in the East with St. Joe's, but still within range of UMass (5-3) and Rhode Island (4-3). Their up-and-down campaign has seen just one two-game winning streak, but four two-game losing skids.
"Right now, it's now or never. It's do or die," said Winn, who had a team-high 17 points and also collected seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. "Either we're going to do it or it's not going to happen.
"It comes down to who wants to lace them up a little bit tighter and go on a run. We have to do it off this game. . . . We have to get some wins off this if we want to have another postseason."
Bona's margin for error has been small. All three of its A-10 wins have been by five points or less, as was a loss at Xavier. The Bonnies also had the lead inside the final five minutes in losses to George Washington and Fordham.
"We've been in this situation before and the last few games, the ball just didn't bounce our way," Winn said. "Now we have to take this energy from tonight into Saturday."
La Salle (8-10, 4-4 A-10 West) tied the game at 62-62 on freshman Rasual Butler's three-pointer with 1:04 left. Winn took over from that point, driving the lane to draw a foul with 33 seconds left and making both free throws to give Bona the lead for good.
La Salle guard Donnie Carr was then stuffed by David Messiah Capers (with the Explorers' bench hot over the non-foul call) and Winn hit two more freebies with 15.1 ticks left to give Bona a four-point lead.
La Salle's K'Zell Wesson got one back at the line with six seconds left, but Bona freshman J.R. Bremer clinched the win on two freebies with 3.1 seconds to go.
The Bonnies dominated La Salle inside, posting a 55-35 rebounding advantage over the A-10's worst team on the boards. They outscored the Explorers in the paint, 40-16, and had a 21-5 bulge in second-chance points. Bona shot 41.5 percent from the field, just 3 of 12 from three-point range.
"We really rebounded the basketball and played defense aggressively," said coach Jim Baron. "We gutted it out right to the end."
La Salle (8-10, 4-4) missed numerous layups in shooting 33 percent from the field and stayed in range thanks to its 13-for-31 night from three-point land. The Explorers are 0-7 on the road.
"The stat sheet doesn't always tell the story, but it does in this game," said La Salle coach Speedy Morris, who has only eight scholarship players after three were declared academically ineligible earlier this month. "When you get outrebounded by 20, you're not going to win many."
Issac King had 16 points for Bona and Messiah Capers chipped in with 12. Forward Peter Van Paassen, center Caswell Cyrus and reserve forward Terrence Durham led the Bonnies with nine rebounds each.
"Our guys did a good job of limiting them to one shot and going to the offensive glass ourselves," Baron said.
Carr had 18 of his 21 points and five three-pointers in the first half, but was just 1 for 7 from the field in the final 20 minutes.
"We took more pride in our defense," said Messiah Capers, who did most of the work against Carr. "In the first half, he was taking deep threes we didn't expect him to take and making them. In the second, we fought around the screens and everybody helped out."