Box Score (PDF)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – St. Bonaventure's seven-game winning streak came to a halt Saturday afternoon at Saint Louis, 70-59.
A hot start from the Billikens paired with a cold finish from the Bonnies proved too much for the visitors to overcome as Saint Louis prevailed in a meeting between two teams receiving Top 25 votes.
Kyle Lofton led the Bonnies with 17 points, adding five assists and five steals while playing all 40 minutes as Bona saw its record go to 9-2 overall and 7-2 in Atlantic 10 play. Jaren Holmes added 12 points and six rebounds while Jalen Adaway gave Bona a third double-figure scorer at 10 points.
In the end, though, the Bonnies just could not find enough traction offensively against the physically imposing Billikens.
St. Bonaventure finished the day shooting 36 percent from the floor (20-for-55) including just nine of 27 during the second half.
Saint Louis (7-3, 1-2) came into the game fresh off two crushing losses after being paused for a month due to virus concerns as well as an unexpected extra day in Philadelphia following mechanical issues with the team plane. The Billikens, which enjoyed a Top 25 ranking just two weeks ago, looked more than a little upset at their recent plight during the early minutes, roaring out to a 13-2 start in the first four-plus minutes and sinking five of their first nine 3-point tries.
The Bonnies would chip their way back into the game, though.
Despite losing second-leading scorer Jaren Holmes to the bench with three fouls at the 13:36 mark, Bona began to work its way back into the game by employing more of the familiar steady defense Bonnies fans have grown accustomed to.
SBU held the Billikens without a point for over a five-minute span late in the half, sneaking back within 27-24 with 4:37 left in the period before Saint Louis extended its lead to eight again. Still, the Bonnies weathered the storm and went to intermission down just five, 36-31.
St. Bonaventure turned the tables on the hosts coming out of the locker room, reversing course from the start of the game with a 6-0 run to begin the second half. A steal from Lofton resulting in a layup by Holmes gave the Bonnies their first lead of the day, 37-36.
As was the case for most of the day, though, the Billikens immediately responded with work beyond the arc following a Yuri Collins three to retake the lead.
The two A-10 heavyweights went back-and-forth for much of the second half, but Saint Louis was able to hold the Bonnies at arm's length distance thanks to continued three-point success.
A 9-0 break from Saint Louis stretched the lead back to double digits, 59-49, before Holmes finally ended a six-minute Bona scoring drought with a three at the 2:16 mark.
By then, though, the Billikens had established control and would not look back, and though the hosts did not have a field goal over the final 4:35, they were able to ice the game at the foul line.
Javonte Perkins paced all scorers with 21 points for Saint Louis.
QUOTES FROM HEAD COACH MARK SCHMIDT
"We battled, but we just dug ourselves too big of a hole. For 35 minutes we won by one or two points. Give our guys credit, we fought back to take the lead, but then we had a couple turnovers. Saint Louis is a really good team and they were desperate for a win. We didn't play great, but I thought we played hard and we dealt with some adversity."
"We made some mistakes in our zone and every time we made a mistake they made us pay for it. We have to execute better, but in terms of our effort, we continued to fight. They hit 11 threes, though, and that was the difference."
- Saint Louis entered the day averaging just over six three-pointers per game, but went 11-for-27 from distance Saturday.
- The Billikens owned a 34-32 edge in rebounding and became the first Bonnies opponent to outscore the Brown and White in the paint this year, 20-18. Bona had not been outscored in the painted area since last year's season finale at SLU when the Billikens owned a 22-point advantage in the paint.
- Saint Louis big man Hasahan French was held without a point in just 16 minutes of play, but did haul in seven rebounds. Demarius Jacobs had 11 points, powered by three treys, off the bench.
- St. Bonaventure had equaled some of the best starts in program history. Some of the other similar excellent starts for Bona teams at 9-1 or better and their ultimate finishes: 1970-71 (21-6, NIT); 1969-70 (25-3, Final Four); 1967-68 (23-2, NCAA Tournament); 1963-64 (16-8, NIT); 1960-61 (24-4, NCAA); 1958-59 (20-3, NIT); 1956-57 (17-7, NIT).
- Lofton surpassed 1,100 career points and moved into the program's top-40 in all-time scoring, passing Ken Murray '50 (1,090), Garland Mance '94 (1,096) and Norman Clarke '84 (1,097).
- Saint Louis, with a number of free throws in the final two minutes, became the first Bonnies A-10 opponent to reach 70 points this year. SBU had not allowed 70 or more points in a conference game since last year's regular season finale – also at SLU.
- Osun Osunniyi swatted a season-high five shots, adding seven points and eight rebounds.
- Lofton's five steals represent a career-high.
- Approximately 800 fans were expected to be in attendance at Chaifetz Arena, the most for any Bonnies game this season.
The Bonnies return home to face La Salle Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.
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