Jalen Poyser, a key component in St. Bonaventure's offense before he was injured last month, is back.
The junior transfer from Malton, Ont., scored 20 points in just 24 minutes off the bench Saturday in the Bonnies' 74-53 victory over Fordham in the Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx.
The 24 minutes were the most Poyser played since he went 35 against Syracuse on Dec. 29. That was his last start. He missed six games with injury and has gradually been reintroduced to the Bonnies' eight-player rotation. His 20 point is the most for him since he scored 20 against Delaware State at the Reilly Center on Dec. 1. That was the last of a stretch when Poyser scored 20 or more in a span of seven games.
St. Bonaventure, which started the season 1-5 with two key starters, Courtney Stockard and LaDarien Griffin injured, climbed to just one game below .500 (13-14) and improved to 9-5 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Bona stands alone in fifth place moving past George Mason, which lost at home to Duquesne on Saturday, 79-78.
Bona will play Duquesne *(10-5) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Reilly Center. The Bonnies defeated the Dukes, 51-49, in Pittsburgh on Feb. 6.
Besides Poyser, who made 4 of 6 3-pointers and 8 of 12 overall, Bona got major contributions from Stockard, who had 12 points and five assists, Osun Osunniyi who had 11 rebounds and Griffin who had 11 rebounds. Freshman Kyle Lofton who has been a standout in the Bonnies' five wins in their last six games. played 39 minutes and scored only nine points, but he attempted only nine shots, making four.
Griffs road magic will be tested at Iona
Canisius' road warriors, who have won nine true road games this season including Friday's 60-59 win at Monmouth will see if their travel magic can pass stern test at 2 p.m. Sunday again Iona in New Rochelle.
Coach Reggie Witherspoon's surprising Golden Griffins (13-14, 10-5 MAAC) will put their first-place standing on the line against the perennially strong Gaels (12-15, 10-6), who have been either the MAAC regular season or tournament champion the last seven seasons.
Seven of the Griffs road wins have come in the MAAC but they will be facing a surging Iona time which has won five in a row in the conference, including three on the road.
The Gaels defeated Manhattan, 66-52, at Draddy Gymnasium in Riverdale on Friday. To charge up the emotional scene even more, it will be Senior Day at Iona. The Gaels have only one senior, guard Rickey McGill, who has scored 1,318 points in 126 games at Iona. McGill had 20 in Iona's 88-70 win over the Griffs at the Koessler Center in January.
Niagara visits Saint Peter's
Niagara 12-16, 5-10 MAAC) is out of the running for a high finish in the conference but will attempt to avenge a home loss to Saint Peter's when it takes on the Peacocks at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City, N.J.
Saint Peter's (7-20, 4-11) edged Niagara, 74-72, at the Gallagher Center on Jan. 22. After that win the Peacocks lost seven in a row before defeating Marist, 65-59, in Poughkeepsie on Friday night.