Box Score (PDF)
BUFFALO – Foul trouble proved to be the undoing for St. Bonaventure as the Bonnies saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end Monday night at Alumni Arena, 84-79, at the hands of Buffalo.
Kyle Lofton paced the Bonnies, matching a career-high with 32 points while adding eight assists and five rebounds.
The Bonnies (8-5) showed no signs of rust from the holiday layoff early, opening up a 20-8 advantage in the first eight minutes despite Osun Osunniyi being forced to sit with two fouls before the first media timeout.
Further foul trouble would plague the Bonnies in the post as Amadi Ikpeze was also forced to sit less than 10 minutes in with two fouls, pushing Bobby Planutis and Justin Winston into larger duty inside.
With the Bonnies shorthanded, Buffalo rolled to a 22-10 run for a 30-30 tie just inside four minutes in the half.
Bona had the final punch of the half, though, as Lofton took 16 points into the break while the Bonnies pushed back in front, 38-35.
Buffalo (9-4) came out of intermission with a 7-0 run to re-take the lead, setting up a back-and-forth swing through the early portion of the final 20 minutes.
The momentum continued to waver until the 9:18 mark when Osunniyi's fourth foul sent him back to the bench and the Bulls to the line for a 62-57 advantage.
Ultimately, the disparity in fouls would overcome the Bonnies – at one point late in the second half, the Bulls had a 19-2 advantage in free throw attempts. Buffalo continually won battles for loose balls as well, finishing plus-six on the boards.
Buffalo grew its lead to 10 with four minutes left, but the Bonnies would not quit down the stretch.
Down 12 with 1:36 to play, Bona began to rally.
A Winston layup followed a Lofton three, and the Bonnies quickly forced a Bulls turnover to pull within 80-75 with 56 seconds left. After a Buffalo foul, two free throws from English made it a one possession game with 51 seconds still left. The Bonnies defense got a stop and had an opportunity to cut within one or tie, but a jumper rattled in and out and the rebound fell to Buffalo.
Antwain Johnson made two at the line to push the lead back to five, but a Lofton steal and layup got Bona back within a possession. Forced to foul with eight seconds to go, Jayvon Graves iced the game with two at the line for the night's final scoring.
Graves delivered 28 points for the Bulls while Josh Mballa posted 14 points and 15 rebounds.
- For the second consecutive game, the Bonnies rolled with a starting lineup of Kyle Lofton, Dominick Welch, Jaren English, Osun Osunniyi and Justin Winston.
- Bona was coming of a nine-day layoff – longest of the season.
- Lofton posted his first 20-plus game of scoring this season and matched his career high of 32 set last year vs. George Mason.
- Lofton also had his fifth game this year of eight or more assists.
- The Bonnies shot 44 percent from the floor and went 7-of-9 at the line while the Bulls finished at a 43 percent clip and went 23-for-30 at the stripe.
- Bona held a 52-32 advantage in points in the paint and 21-17 in second chance points.
- St. Bonaventure's seven-game winning streak entering the day matched the longest in non-conference history for the program since joining the Atlantic 10 for the 1979-80 season.
- Welch led the Bonnies on the glass for the fourth time this season.
QUOTES FROM HEAD COACH MARK SCHMIDT
"Give our guys credit, we fought back and made it a game. Our guys didn't quit, but Buffalo played extremely well. Going into the game we knew that Buffalo was a very physical team and they outrebounded us by six (43-37). I thought Kyle played extremely well and kept us in the game, but it seemed like any time there was a loose ball Buffalo got it. It was a good game, but now it's on to the Atlantic 10 and our second season."
"If you look at the points in the paint, we were more aggressive. But when they drove, we fouled."
"I knew our guys wouldn't quit; we forced some turnovers and made some plays late. That's a credit to our guys."
"When we were 1-4 and banged up, if someone said we would finish non-conference 8-5 I probably would take that. Now it's time for our second season; we're going into Atlantic 10 games and it is time to go to work."
The Bonnies open up Atlantic 10 play with a trip to George Washington Sunday, Jan. 5 at 4 p.m.
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