St. Bonaventure’s game at La Salle in Philadelphia on Wednesday night had trap game and danger written all over it.
The Bonnies were coming off a big win over George Washington and looking ahead to a huge road game at Dayton and another with Duquesne. La Salle had won only once in Atlantic 10 Conference play and had lost 10 in a row and 17 of the last 18.
It didn’t figure to be easy and it wasn’t. La Salle upset St. Bonaventure, 71-64, putting a crimp in the Bonnies’ hopes for a top four finish in the A-10. Bona is 17-7 overall, 9-4 in the conference. La Salle is 6-18, 2-11 in the A-10 with the other win an upset of Dayton.
Bona fought an uphill battle all game, and it seemed every time it took the lead, the Explorers would answer.
The last time was perhaps the most painful. After finally gaining the lead, 63-62, on the fifth three-point basket of the game by Marcus Posley, the Bonnies gave up layups by Tony Washington and Jordan Price within a span of 44 seconds for a 66-63 La Salle lead.
Another basket by Price, who finished with 18 points, and three free throws finished off Bona.
Price, Cleon Roberts (14 points) and Johnnie Shuler (12) played the full 40 minutes for Dr. Richard Gianini’s team. Gianini constantly shuffled his seven-man rotation to keep the Explorers fresh.
The Bonnies went 6 minutes and 6 seconds without a field goal late in the game. Idris Taqqee scored with 10:47 left for a 49-47 Bona lead. The Bonnies didn’t score another basket until Posley hit a three with 4:41 left to leave La Salle with a 59-57 lead.
Bona rallied in the first half to take a narrow lead only to see La Salle leave at halftime with a 35-32 advantage on a tip in by the 6-foot-10 Washington. Bona led again, 42-38, early in the second half only to see a five-point run put the Explorers back in front.
Wright hit a three for the Bonnies to tie but again La Salle matched that. Twice more Bona took two-point leads but each time the Explorers responded. Then a five-point run, a three-pointer by Roberts and two free throws by Price made it 54-51. Bona had the lead only once, briefly, after that.
Washington had 12 rebounds and Price 10 as La Salle beat the Bonnies on the boards, 30-18.
Posley led Bona with 21 points, after a slow start. Dion Wright had 16 points and Adams, who played the entire 40 minutes, had 12 points and six assists. Posley was 5 for 12 from three-point range. The rest of the Bonnies were only 2 for 7. La Salle made 10 of its 20 three-point attempts.
At Alumni Arena in Amherst, the University at Buffalo women never led although they managed to tie the game twice late in the first quarter and fell to the visiting Eastern Michigan Eagles, 70-55.
Joanna Smith led the Bulls (12-12, 4-9 Mid-American Conference) with 22 points and Brittany Morrison had 13, but they couldn’t offset EMU’s four-pronged attack with Cha Sweeney leading the way with 19 points. Sasha Dailey had 17, Chanise Baldwin 16 and Janay Morton 12. Baldwin also had 10 rebounds for EMU (16-8, 7-6 MAC). Morrison had 11 rebounds for UB.
Canisius and Niagara will begin their final homestands of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season with conference games Thursday night.
The Griffs (11-16, 6-10 MAAC) will be home against Fairfield (15-11, 9-7 MAAC) in an 8 p.m. game at the Koessler Athletic Center (Radio 1230).
Niagara (6-21, 4-23 MAAC) will entertain Marist (5-20, 2-14 MAAC) at the Gallagher Center (7 p.m., Radio 1440).
The local teams will swap opponents for 3 p.m. games on Saturday.
Canisius had struggled lately, winning only once in the last seven games. The Griffs lost to Fairfield on the road, 84-77, on Jan. 29.
Fairfield is one of the most improved teams in the nation. The Stags already have more than doubled last season’s seven wins. Coach Sydney Johnson’s team takes a three-game winning streak to Koessler. The Stags overcame a 13-point deficit to defeat Marist, 76-73, on Monday night behind a career-high 25 points by Jerry Johnson Jr.
Niagara’s only win in its last nine games was over Marist, 69-66, in Poughkeepsie on Jan. 28. The Red Foxes’ only win since Dec. 22 was a 79-73 upset of Siena on Feb. 7.