No matter the team, coach or year, beating Canisius is never easy. That adage held true again on Wednesday night at the Koessler Center, as St. Bonaventure prevailed 73-65 in a game that was hotly contested until the final minute.
Playing in his second game of the season, senior point guard Jaylen Adams led the Bonnies to their third straight road win with 20 points and nine assists. Sophomore forward Josh Ayeni broke out of a mini-slump with 15 points on 7-8 shooting.
The win was not only important for St. Bonaventure this season but also carried historical significance, as it was the 100th win for the Bonnies over Canisius. The Bona lead in the all-time series is now 100-66.
LaDarien Griffin helped stake the Bonnies to an 11-point lead in the first half, but Canisius made it a two-point game at halftime thanks mainly to the shooting of Isaiah Reese, who scored 18 points in the first half alone. The Bonnies took a 36-34 lead into the break. Griffin scored all six of his points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
It was a three-point game early in the second half when St. Bonaventure threatened to pull away, using a 9-0 run to open at 55-43 lead with 13:26 remaining. Adams capped the run with his second three-pointer of the game. Ayeni was hot in the second half, making four jumpers in the first seven minutes.
Canisius, though, responded with a 10-2 surge to pull back to within 57-53 with 9:37 left. Adams ended the Griffs' run with another three to make it 60-53.
It was a 60-55 game when Adams made two free throws and Ayeni converted a three-point play to give the Bonnies more separation at 67-55 with 5:41 to play.
The Bonnies went cold from there, however, as they missed their final four shots of the night. Canisius closed to 67-63 with 3:46 remaining. After forcing a missed shot, Griffin corralled the rebound and Matt Mobley was fouled. His two free throws made it 69-63.
A switch to a zone by the Bonnies was effective down the stretch. A team heavily dependent on three-point shooting, Canisius missed four of its last five shots of the night. Adams made four free throws over the last 50 seconds to secure the win.
Mobley and Courtney Stockard each scored nine points while Griffin, Amadi Ikpeze and Idris Taqqee all scored six. Griffin led the Bonnies with 10 rebounds.
Reese led Canisius (4-5) with a career high 31 points and Jermaine Crumpton added 15.
Stats Of The Game
The Bonnies were again productive in the turnover margin, forcing 19 Griffs turnovers and converting those into 27 points. St. Bonaventure also outscored Canisius 32-20 in the paint and 15-2 on fastbreak chances.
Up Next: The Bonnies will play at the Reilly Center for the first time since Nov. 20 when they host Yale this Saturday, Dec. 9. Tipoff is 2:00 and the game will air on ESPNU.
St. Bonaventure basketball tickets are available via GoBonnies.com/tickets; by calling (716) 375-2500 or at the St. Bonaventure ticket office in the Reilly Center.
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