ST. LOUIS, Mo. – St. Bonaventure could not find traction offensively against one of the Atlantic 10's top defensive squads, falling in the regular season finale at Saint Louis, 72-49.
After trailing by double digits much of the night, the Bonnies fought back within 63-49 with five minutes remaining, stifling SLU's attack with its press. Unfortunately that would be as close as the Brown and White would get down the stretch, however, as the visitors never found consistent momentum on the offensive end.
Saturday night's battle was for a top-four seed in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Tournament, but the setback will force the Bonnies to start their run in Brooklyn a day earlier on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. vs. the winner of Wednesday's Saint Joseph's vs. George Mason game.
Icy shooting defined the night for the Bonnies. The team went scoreless for the first 3:09 of play and did not make a field goal for the opening four minutes. Bona went 1-for-12 from the floor before back-to-back threes from Bobby Planutis and Alejandro Vasquez, but another four-minute drought from the floor allowed the Billikens to grow their lead to 16 as the clock ticked under six minutes in the half.
While the Bonnies doubled the post defensively, the Billikens were able to find success from the perimeter. Entering the game averaging just 5.3 threes per game for the season, Saint Louis had five triples just over halfway into the opening period and had six at the half as part of a 38-21 lead.
Kyle Lofton started the second half with six quick points, including a four-point play, but the rally effort would be short lived. Bona continued to struggle on the offensive end, going five minutes without a field goal as the hosts grew their lead to 20 for the first time.
The offensive woes made Bona's hopes for a top-four seed and a double-bye in next week's Atlantic 10 Tournament go by the wayside. With a win, the Bonnies would have claimed the No. 4 seed, but instead will have to settle for the No. 5 seed.
Bonaventure closed the night shooting 13-for-51 from the floor while Saint Louis connected on 25-of-57 attempts and owned a 43-32 edge on the boards powered by 18 rebounds and 16 points for Hasahan French.
The Bonnies finish their regular season with a record of 19-12 and 11-7 in conference play while Saint Louis improves to 23-8, 12-6.
- Welch hit three 3-pointers and had at least one trey in 28 of 31 games during the regular season.
- English led the Bonnies in scoring for the fifth time this year, but entered the day second on the team in A-10 play with 13 points per game in conference action.
- The Bonnies have secured their sixth straight year of 18 or more victories.
- Saturday was a rematch of last year's Atlantic 10 Championship Game.