The St. Bonaventure men snapped a five-game home losing streak Saturday night, holding off La Salle for a 72-67 Atlantic 10 Conference victory at the Reilly Center in Olean.
For the Bonnies (12-10, 3-6) it was their first win at home since a 73-66 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 17. It also ended a four-game losing streak in conference play.
La Salle, which had trailed by 12 (67-55), cut its deficit to three in the final minute before Bona's Chris Matthews hit two free throws with 16.9 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.
"It's a win we needed," said Bona coach Mark Schmidt. "I thought we played hard, we didn't play well all the time but some times you can overcome that by playing hard."
Matthews led the Bonnies with 15 points. Malcolm Eleby had 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Andrew Nicholson and Jonathan Hall had 12 points each. Hall had eight rebounds and seven assists as well.
Eleby had eight of his points in the first half as he helped St. Bonaventure to a 39-32 lead at the break.
"Probably his best game in a long time," Schmidt said of the sophomore guard from Philadelphia.
Rodney Green and Kimmani Barrett had 13 points each for the visiting Explorers, Robert Guillandeaux added 12.
The Bonnies built an early 23-15 lead, but the Explorers went on a 13-4 run to take a one-point lead. Bona had the advantage the rest of the half, however, outscoring La Salle, 12-4.
The Canisius women's team puts its nine-game road winning streak on the line against Siena at 2 today in Lyndonville. The Golden Griffins (9-3 MAAC) are in third place after Friday night's 68-60 upset at Marist (11-2). Siena (8-4) stands in fourth place. In other Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference women's action, Niagara (1-22, 0-12) will be at Fairfield (10-2) at 1 p.m.
St. Bonaventure's women also are on the road, at Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. start. Katelyn Murray of the Bonnies needs 11 points to hit the 1,000 career mark. Bona (5-2) enters the game in a three-way tie for third in the Atlantic 10 standings. Saint Joseph's is 2-5 in the conference.
The University at Buffalo (5-16, 1-7), the last place team in the Mid-American Conference East, will face Ball State, a first-place team from the MAC West, at 2 p.m. in Alumni Arena.
On the Big 4 men's schedule today, Niagara (18-6, 9-3) looks for its fifth straight win against Fairfield (15-9, 8-5), which is another team on a roll. The Stags have won their last three including a 65-51 win at Canisius on Friday night while Niagara was defeating Saint Peter's, 73-55. With Siena's loss at Rider on Saturday, the Purple Eagles find themselves two games behind the first-place Saints in the MAAC.
Canisius has a rare morning start, 11:30 a.m., for its MAAC game against Saint Peter's in the Koessler Center. It will be a battle of two MAAC cellar-dwellers, Canisius (7-16, 2-11) is last in the conference, one game behind Saint Peter's (6-17, 3-10). The Peacocks defeated the Griffs, 76-52, on Dec. 7 in Jersey City, N.J.