Late Comeback Leads Canisius Past Bonaventure, 72-69
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BUFFALO, N.Y. – Chris Johnson tied a career high for the second straight game with 19 points, but Canisius closed the game on a 13-4 run and after Matthew Wright's game-tying 3-point attempt missed as the buzzer sounded, the Griffs had claimed a 72-69 victory over St. Bonaventure Saturday afternoon in a sold-out Koessler Athletic Center.
Holding a 65-59 lead following a Wright free throw with 6:23 remaining, the Bonnies (2-1) made just one field goal the rest of the game – that coming on Johnson tip-in – as the Griffs (2-0) kept SBU winless in the KAC dating back to 1995.
Johnson scored seven of Bona's first nine points en route to tying his career high for the fourth time. Demitrius Conger and Eric Mosley combined to account for six of Bonaventure's nine 3-pointers as each senior finished with 14 points. Wright, who was 6-6 from inside the arc, but 0-4 beyond it, contributed 13 points in a starting role.
An aggressive Canisius squad went to the free-throw line 21 times and made 18 of those attempts (85.7 percent), while the Bonnies went just 8-10 from the stripe – an 80-percent clip, but eight fewer attempts than the Griffs had makes.
As part of the 13-4 run to close the game, Canisius took a 66-65 lead on a Harold Washington layup with 1:31 remaining. Conger answered with a pair of free throws just 11 seconds later to put the Bonnies back in front, 67-66. On the ensuing defensive trip, SBU forced Washington into a miss, but the Griffs got an offensive board and put-back from Chris Manhertz to reclaim the lead.
A pair of Isaac Sosa free throws gave Canisius a 70-67 advantage with 17 seconds remaining. However, Johnson put back up a Conger missed 3 with five seconds left to trim the deficit to just one, but two Washington free throws clinched the win for the Griffs.
Washington finished with a game-high 23 points, while Sosa was the lone other Canisius player in double-figure scoring as he netted 14.
The Bonnies shot the ball well as they connected at a 50-percent clip from the floor (26-52), out-rebounded the Griffs, 31-27 – thanks to a game-high eight from Marquise Simmons – but committed 19 turnovers compared with 13 for Canisius.
Johnson helped the Bonnies get out to 13-8 start before a 13-2 Canisius run gave the Griffs what ended up being their largest lead of the game, 21-15, at the 10:23 mark of the first half.
Bonaventure answered that run and trimmed the deficit to just two when head coach Mark Schmidt re-entered Mosley and his two fouls with 4:45 left in the half. The gamble paid off as the guard promptly drilled three straight 3-pointers on three consecutive SBU offensive possessions to turn a 28-26 deficit into a 35-30 lead. Mosley finished 4-6 from 3-point range, tying a career high for makes established last year against Temple.
St. Bonaventure has a week off before returning to action next Saturday, Nov. 24, in Rochester against Little Three rival Niagara. The Bonnies and Purple Eagles are set to meet at 4 p.m. at Blue Cross Arena. To purchase tickets, click here.
GAME NOTES: Simmons added five points off the bench, and Charlon Kloof contributed four points and a team-best four assists … this was the third time a St. Bonaventure-Canisius game has sold out at the Koessler Athletic Center (2003 and 2010) … Conger made his 66th consecutive start … Canisius is coached by former SBU standout player, and coach, Jim Baron … the 28-26 Canisius lead was the last time in the game the Bonnies trailed until Washington's layup at the 1:31 mark of the second half … Bonaventure entered the game having not trailed for 77 minutes and 24 seconds … Johnson played a career-high 34 minutes … a strong contingent of Bonaventure students and fans made up the sold-out crowd of 2,196.