By Jeff Fasoldt
The La Salle Explorers upset the St. Bonaventure Bonnies at a packed Reilly Center Saturday night, improving La Salle’s record to 12-9, and dropping the Bonnies to 11-8 on the year.
In what was Bonaventure’s final Saturday night game of the year in front of their home crowd, not capitalizing on turnovers and plenty of missed shots doomed them from the beginning as they only shot 2-18 from beyond the arc.
Marcus Posley, the leading scorer in the Atlantic-10 Conference, didn’t start for the first time all season due to showing up late to shootaround. And even though he came in just a few minutes into the game, he did not look comfortable coming off the bench as the sixth man, going 2-12 from the field and 0-7 from three point land.
“We thought it was going to be a terrific challenge, and I was glad we were up to the challenge,” said La Salle head coach John Giannini. “We watched more video on Posley than anybody in the conference, but we didn’t change the way we defended against him. We defend the same way against everybody”
On the other side, La Salle’s Jordan Price and Cleon Roberts came up huge for the Explorers. Roberts, who came into the game at 42 percent from beyond the arc, continued to stroke it — going 6-12 from the floor, 4-9 from deep and scoring 20 total. Price picked up his offensive game again after struggling in his last two outings; he had a team-high 22, going 4-11 from beyond the arc.
“I felt like my teammates got me open a lot off of screens,” said Price.
While the Bonnies doubled the Explorers offensive rebounds 15-7, they couldn’t capitalize on second-chance points, and also forced 11 turnovers compared to La Salle’s five, but could not gain an advantage off of those either.
A couple bright spots for the Bonnies in this loss would be both of their big-men. Youssou Ndoye had 17, going 5-11 from the field and also grabbing six boards. Dion Wright had a monster game playing 39 of the 40 minutes, and doing everything he could for his team in this one, scoring a team-high 21, going 8-11 from the field and grabbing 7 rebounds.
“We tried to go inside more, we only shot eight threes in the second half but at the same time you have to hit shots from beyond the arc if you want to win in this league,” said Bonnies head coach, Mark Schmidt.
You have to give La Salle some credit, they came into this game as one of the best defensive teams in the conference and continued to prove they can match up defensively with anybody.
“I felt like we were taking good shots, we just couldn’t make (anything),” said Wright.
St. Bonaventure’s next game will be at Davidson on Wednesday.