Lofton’s Shot Gives St. Bonaventure Third Straight Win

Box Score (PDF)

St. Bonaventure Starters: G Kyle Lofton, G Dominick Welch, G/F Courtney Stockard, F LaDarien Griffin, C Osun Osunniyi

Updated Records: St. Bonaventure 12-14 (8-5 Atlantic 10); La Salle 8-17 (6-7)

Keys To The Game:

  1. St. Bonaventure prevailed in a tense game thanks to a jumper by Kyle Lofton with 3.1 seconds left on the clock.  
  2. With the game tied at 60, LaDarien Griffin forced a turnover by Isiah Deas with 14 seconds remaining, giving the Bonnies the opportunity for the final shot.
  3. The Bonnies' defense was again superb as they held La Salle to 37 percent shooting. It was the fourth time in the last five games the Bonnies held their opponent to 60 points or less.

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – Once again, Kyle Lofton took center stage at the Reilly Center.

The freshman point guard sank a jumper near the free throw line with 3.1 seconds left that gave St. Bonaventure a 62-60 win over La Salle on Wednesday night.

A final desperation shot by the Explorers was short, giving the Bonnies their third straight victory. Also winners of four of their last five, the Bonnies moved into a tie for fifth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference at 8-5.

La Salle tied the game at 60 thanks to a three-pointer by Saul Phiri with 1:14 left. Lofton then missed a three-pointer with 40 seconds to go, giving the Explorers a chance at the lead. But LaDarien Griffin forced a turnover to regain possession for his club and set the stage for Lofton's winner.

In the first half, the Bonnies committed six turnovers in the first six minutes of play. But seven straight points from senior Courtney Stockard gave St. Bonaventure a 10-7 advantage at the first media timeout.

La Salle narrowed it to a 28-23 lead after a three-pointer from Isiah Deas with 3:58 left in the half. Stockard, Osun Osunniyi and Nelson Kaputo scored in succession to give Bona a 29-28 lead at the 1:08 mark. A drive by Stockard gave the Bonnies a 32-28 lead heading into halftime.

The Bonnies led at halftime thanks to their defense, as they limited La Salle to 34 percent shooting. The Bonnies only converted 1-of-5 three-pointers but shot 48 percent from the field.

La Salle was called for technical foul at the 16:16 mark that sparked a 12-3 run by the Bonnies that featured two dunks by Osunniyi. Dominick Welch capped the surge with a three-pointer by Welch at the 9:53 mark that gave St. Bonaventure its largest lead at 50-39.

However, the Explorers continued to chip away. La Salle went on 16-7 run that ended with Pookie Powell's free throws with 4:06 left, pulling the visitors within two at 57-55.

A free throw by Welch made it a three point lead, and Osunniyi followed with a layup off a Lofton feed with 2:45 left that gave St. Bonaventure a 60-55 lead. Powell's drive pulled the Explorers to 60-57 at the 2:27 mark.

Mark Schmidt Post-Game Quotes
"It was a hard fought game. La Salle came out really aggressively in the beginning of the game, knocked us down a bit. The game, it wasn't a masterpiece offensively, but I thought we gutted it out. It was a blue collar game. We defended and we rebounded. When you defend and rebound, it gives you a chance. We didn't take care of the ball -- one of the reasons why it was such a close game. But, it was defense and rebounding. To hold that team to 37 percent and outrebound them by four shows that we had some mental and physical toughness." 

"(Kyle Lofton) is the quarterback. I trust him. He plays 40 minutes a game. If he was playing 40 minutes a game and I didn't trust him, I'm a fool. He's playing 40 minutes for a reason. He's been doing this for a number of games. He doesn't play like a freshman. He plays beyond his years, he has a good feel. I have great faith in him. With the timeout, I want the ball in his hands and I know for the most part he's going to make the right play."

"It was a team effort, but we won the game playing defense and playing the blue collar way. I say it all the time, offense is fickle. We're not going to play well all the time … we're not going to make 11 threes like we did the other night. When we don't, we better have our defense pick us up and that's what it did."

Game Notes

  • The win moved St. Bonaventure (8-5) into a three-way tie for fifth place in the Atlantic 10 with Duquesne and Saint Louis.
  • The Bonnies enjoyed a 35-31 edge in rebounds, a 36-26 advantage in points in the paint and a 16-6 edge in second chance points.
  • Osunniyi's game high 13 rebounds marked the seventh time this season he has reached double figures in rebounding.
  • Osunniyi's five blocks gave him 67 for the season, which is 14 shy of Andrew Nicholson's school freshman record.
  • St. Bonaventure is now 7-5 at the Reilly Center this season including a 3-3 mark in A-10 games.
  • The young Bonnies have had their struggles in close games this season but are now 2-3 in games decided by five points or less.

Up Next: St. Bonaventure will travel downstate to visit Fordham this Saturday, Feb. 23, at Rose Hill Gym. Tip-off will be at 4:30 on NBC Sports Network.

- By Steve Mest, Associate Director of Athletics and Cameron Hurst '20

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