There are signs that St. Bonaventure is capable of a strong finish to its regular season schedule and gain a more favorable seed for next month's Atlantic 10 Confernce tournament.
The Bonnies (11-14, 7-5 A-10), who will face La Salle (8-16, 6-6 A-10) at 7 p.m. tonight in the Reilly Center are in seventh place in the conference standings. However, they are only one game behind fourth-place Dayton (8-4), which is significant. The first four teams in the final A-10 regular season standings draw a bye into the quarterfinals of the conference tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Climbing to fourth place would increase any chance Bona has of winning the A-10 tournament an earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
A tall order, but there are signs that coach Mark Schmidt's team, with three freshman in the starting lineup gaining experience and starters fully healthy, can give it a run.
Bona has won five of its last seven games and two of the six games left on the schedule are against teams near the bottom of the standings Fordham (2-10) and George Washington (3-9) on the road. The other road game is at Davidson (10-2), which is tied for first place with VCU. Remaining home games are toughies, Duquesne (8-5) and Saint Louis (8-5).
One of Bona's freshman starters, guard Kyle Lofton, is coming off a 32-point career high in Saturday's win over George Mason. That earned Lofton Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season. He is averaging 14.9 points a game, second among freshman in the conference in taking over the point guard duties for the departed Jaylen Adams, now with the Atlanta Hawks.
Another first-year man is 6-foot-10 center Osun Osunniyi, who is averaging 8.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game in conference playl.
The third frosh is guard Dominick Welch (Cheektowaga), who is starting to round in promising form after missing all of December's games with a bruised foot. Welch has five A-10 games in double figure scoring, including three of the last four.
In its first season under former Villanova assistant Ashley Howard, La Salle started 2-10 in nonconference games but has been more competitive since A-10 play began in January.
Senior point guard Pookie Powell leads the Explorers in scoring (15.6). Guards Isiah Deas and Saul Phiri each average 11.6. In A-10 play, Phiri has made 46 percent of his 3-point shots. Forward Ed Croswell is the Explorers' leading rebounder at 6.6 per game.
UB women on road
The University at Buffalo women (16-7, 8-4 MAC) will try avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2016-17 when they face Ball State (7-17, 2-10 MAC) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Worthen Arena in Muncie, Ind. The game was postponed from Jan. 30. It will be the first of three road games in a row for UB. The Bulls will play at Akron on Saturday and at Ohio University on Feb. 27.
Daemen moves up in national polls
Daemen (21-3, 11-1 ECC) moved up to 10th in one national NCAA Division II men's basketball poll and No. 13 in another with a key East Coast Conference game coming up against St. Thomas Aquinas in Sparkill on Friday night.
Coach Mike MacDonald's Wildcats are No. 10, up one spot in the Sports Information Directors of America (D2SIDA) media poll. They came in at No. 13, up from No. 15, in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) poll.