The Saint Bonaventure Bonnies (SBU) took down the La Salle Explorers with a convincing 86-73 win. In fact, this was the highest scoring game for Saint Bonaventure this season. However, the defining moment of the game occurred in the first half when Coach Ashley Howard was ejected.
With 7:45 remaining in the first half, La Salle guard Christian Ray grabbed a rebound and attempted a second chance shot when four Bonnies players came crashing down on him. Coach Howard immediately began to yell at the refs after no foul was called on the play. The refs swiftly issued a double technical and instructed Coach Howard to leave the gym.
In a true ESPN+ moment, Coach Howard used every minute of his walk to the locker room to curse out the officials. Luckily, the producers at ESPN+ were slow to the mute button and fans were indulged in a swearing session that would make Saint Bonaventure himself blush! Assistant coach Kyle Griffin had to step in as the interim coach for the Explorers. However, the game was never in question after the ejection, as the Bonnies took the lead and never looked back.
Saint Bonaventure Rebounds
Saint Bonaventure was led by forward Osun Osunniyi who finished the game with 17 points, 8 rebounds and two assists. Osunniyi was a force under the rim as he generated three blocks. He also shot 5-5 from the field and 7-8 from the free throw line.
In addition to Osunniyi’s contribution, both guards Kyle Lofton and Jalen Adaway had impactful nights for Saint Bonaventure. Lofton finished with 18 points and 8 assists on 5 for 8 shooting. Adaway finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds on 7 for 9 shooting.
As fellow A10 talk writer Jack Milko explained in his pregame analysis, Saint Bonaventure needed Osunniyi to have a big game on the offensive side. Luckily for them, Osunniyi had no problem scoring over La Salle’s Clifton Moore.
Another major factor in this win was the efficient shooting by SBU. As a team, the Bonnies finished shooting 64% from three and 60% from the field. SBU also attacked the rim well, which helped to draw fouls. Saint Bonaventure attempted 25 free throws throughout the game. In fact, it was free throws which helped Saint Bonaventure find their rhythm after a slow start in the first half.
On the other side, La Salle University was led by guard Sherif Kenney who scored 22 points on 5-7 shooting. Kenney was also able to get to the free throw line multiple times, shooting 13 free throw attempts on the night. There is no doubt that tonight was a bounce back performance for Kenney, who scored only 6 points against Fordham on Saturday. While Kenney’s scoring continues to be volatile, the sophomore guard has proven to us that he can score well into double digits. The question is, how often will it happen?
In addition to Kenney’s contributions, guard Christian Ray also had a positive impact on La Salle’s performance. Ray finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds. While Ray isn’t the most athletic player for La Salle, he is definitely the one with the most heart. Time and again Christian Ray has used his scrappy play to help La Salle jump start its offense. Against SBU, his contributions came on the rebounding side as he grabbed 6 offensive rebounds. Ray plays with a scrappy nature and continually helps La Salle grab the 50/50 balls which can decide the outcome of a game.
Unfortunately, La Salle lost to a team that was simply better than them. La Salle’s numbers across the board were close to their season average. In fact, La Salle improved in some metrics such as: turnovers, points, and free throw attempts. However, it all came down to shooting. La Salle shot 39% from the field and Saint Bonaventure shot 60%. In the end, it’s all about getting the ball through the hoop.
La Salle is scheduled to play George Washing on Saturday, 2/13. The game will be aired on ESPN+ and tip off is scheduled for 2:00pm. Saint Bonaventure is scheduled to play VCU this Friday in a much anticipated #FridA10 game. The game will air on ESPN 2 and is set to tip off at 7:00 pm EST.