Bonnies beat La Salle in overtime
PHILADELPHIA — Fresh off a 25-day layoff since their last competition, St. Bonaventure looked the part of a squad looking to find its legs for about 30 minutes of Tuesday night’s game at La Salle.
In the end, though, the Bonnies found their footing with a dramatic rally in an 80-76 overtime victory over the Explorers in a long-delayed Atlantic 10 opener.
Five Bonnies posted double-figure scoring, led by Kyle Lofton with 18 points and eight assists. Osun Osunniyi delivered a double-double effort of 15 points and 15 rebounds along with four blocks. Dominick Welch and Jaren Holmes each finished with 17 points apiece and Jalen Adaway registered 13 points.
St. Bonaventure (9-3, 1-0 A-10) needed to erase a 12-point deficit with 13:30 to play to force the extra period.
The Bonnies came out understandably cold, going nearly four minutes before sinking their first field goal, one of three first-half treys from Welch.
As the visitors worked to get their legs back, the Explorers built a nine-point lead through the first nine minutes of play.
St. Bonaventure would use an offense fueled by Welch and Adaway to tie the contest at 27 before another quick spurt from La Salle pushed the hosts ahead by eight again with 1:52 remaining before intermission. Bona’s would chip away, closing to within three, 37-34, at the break following an emphatic put-back slam from Osunniyi.
Bona’s quickly tied the game out of the locker room, but a 9-0 sprint allowed La Salle to match its largest lead, 46-37, with 15:59 to play. St. Bonaventure got within six again, but it only led to another surge from the Explorers as a Josh Nickelberry 3-ball made it a 54-42 score two minutes later.
Osunniyi would power a Bonnies rally, though, sparking a 10-0 run while connecting on five of six field goals during a game-changing span. A put-back dunk gave the Bonnies the lead, 64-63, and after a La Salle bucket, the Bonnies drew a 66-65 advantage following a drive of the lane by Lofton with two minutes left.
Nickelberry buried another 3, however, for a two-point lead with 1:35 remaining. A massive dunk from Adaway tied things and a last-second prayer from well past half-court fell short at the final buzzer.
Lofton opened the overtime with a floater in the paint, followed by two at the line from Osunniyi.
St. Bonaventure quickly grabbed a two-possession lead in overtime, but La Salle had a chance to tie under 20 seconds to go when a Nickelberry attempt to draw went off the iron. Welch went to the line and made one of two, putting the game away in the final seconds.
Nickelberry finished with 17 points to pace La Salle (5-8, 0-3).
NOTES: Osunniyi broke a tie with Andrew Nicholson for second-place all-time in Bonnies career blocks (244). Only Caswell Cyrus owns more swats in a Bona’s uniform: 289 between 1996-00. … Tuesday marked Bona’s first overtime contest since a win in extra time at Fordham 62-55 on Jan. 29, 2020. … SBU had five players in double figures for the second time this year. … Bona shook some of the old demons the program has long had playing in the city of Philadelphia and improved to 6-9 at Tom Gola Arena. … The Bonnies came back to win after experiencing a double-digit deficit for the fourth time this year. … Bona won the battle of the boards 45-37 and shot 43% for the game including 47% after intermission. La Salle shot 41% for the game, but went just 2 for 11 from the floor in overtime.
NEXT: St. Bonaventure returns home to host VCU Friday night at 7:30 p.m. That game will air on ESPN2 as part of the Atlantic 10 Friday Night Showcase.
St. Bonaventure 80, La Salle 76, OT
ST. BONAVENTURE (9-3)
Osunniyi 6-12 3-3 15, Adaway 6-9 0-0 13, Holmes 5-13 5-7 17, Lofton 6-15 5-8 18, Welch 4-13 5-6 17, Coulibaly 0-1 0-0 0, Adams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-63 18-24 80.
LA SALLE (5-8)
Doucoure 2-3 0-0 4, Moore 7-13 2-2 17, Brantley 5-15 0-0 10, Gill 4-9 0-0 10, Nickelberry 6-16 0-0 17, Ray 0-3 0-0 0, Clark 4-10 0-0 10, McFarlane 3-6 0-0 8, Shepherd 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 31-76 2-2 76.
Halftime–La Salle 37-34. 3-Point Goals–St. Bonaventure 8-20 (Welch 4-9, Holmes 2-5, Adaway 1-2, Lofton 1-4), La Salle 12-37 (Nickelberry 5-14, Gill 2-2, McFarlane 2-5, Clark 2-6, Moore 1-2, Ray 0-3, Brantley 0-5). Fouled Out–Moore. Rebounds–St. Bonaventure 38 (Osunniyi 15), La Salle 30 (Moore 10). Assists–St. Bonaventure 14 (Lofton 8), La Salle 21 (Brantley 8). Total Fouls–St. Bonaventure 14, La Salle 20. A–1,321 (3,400).