La Salle Edges Dayton, St. Bonaventure Gets Past Saint Joseph’s
As the regular season approaches its conclusion, there was still conference basketball to enjoy. The schedule had two of the top teams in the Atlantic 10 visit Philadelphia. Dayton came to 20th and Olney to play La Salle. Later the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure were on Hawk Hill to play Saint Joseph’s. The fans of Philadelphia basketball got a pair of two-point games. La Salle took down Dayton 62 – 60. St. Bonaventure escaped 54 – 52 at Saint Joseph’s.
La Salle 62 Dayton 60
An emotional Senior Day at La Salle in front of a loud crowd at the Gola Arena. The Explorers erased a 15-point lead by the Flyers in the second half. La Salle went on a 17 – 0 run over nearly seven minutes while Dayton missed 10 consecutive shots in that span. The lead for the hosts increased to 61 – 56 with just under two and a half minutes on the clock when Khalil Brantley scored on a layup.
The game was still in doubt when Flyers guard Koby Brea was fouled while converting a three-pointer. The four-point play cut the lead to two points at 61 – 59. Little did anyone know that each team would score only one more point each. There were blocked shots, shot clock violations, and missed free throws.
As the clock was reaching zero, Brea let a three-pointer go, it missed. La Salle corralled the rebound with just .1 (point one) second remaining. Then emotions boiled over for both teams on the court. A double technical was assessed, one on each team, and Explorers forward Clifton Moore was given two free throws. He sank one, and missed the second. The clock ran out and the Explorers brought home a victory.
“During very difficult, challenging times this season, these guys have shown unbelievable character,” said La Salle Coach Ashley Howard. “They come to practice every day to get better. Positive energy, positive attitude, still being coachable, still believing they will come out and win every game. That’s hard. I watch these guys in amazement. It’s inspiring to me. The players, the seniors, the coaches, they deserve to see the fruit of their hard work, and their positivity pay off for them. It’s great to get a win on Senior Day.”
Prior to the game four players were honored as part of Senior Day; Clifton Moore, Jack Clark, Kyle Thompson, and Andrew Lafond. A very special day for student-athletes having their hard work and dedication acknowledged.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience, especially after coming off a couple of losses,” said Clark. “So coming in today playing for each other and everybody, showing the right emotion, happy emotion actually. Pretty fun.”
“It was really a special moment,” Moore shared. “I focused on winning the tap for our guys who don’t usually play, for their Senior Day. That was special to me. You could just tell the energy, everybody was locked in and really connected.”
La Salle improves to 3 – 13 while Dayton drops to 12 – 4. The Flyers still hold third place in the league.
St. Bonaventure 54 Saint Joseph’s 52
The Hawks also hosted one of the top teams in the A10 on national television and a loud, excited crowd. Saint Joe’s held an 8-point lead with just under 12 minutes to play. The Bonnies began their rally. With 5:45 to play reserve forward Abdoul Karim Coulibaly sank a short jumper to give St. Bonaventure a 49 – 47 lead. Coulibaly was in when Osun Osunniyi suffered a lower leg injury.
Then, the teams went on a see-saw as the next five baskets resulted in a lead change. Saint Joe’s went in front 52 – 51 on a Jordan Hall jumper at the 1:55 mark. The score held until Bonnies guard Jaren Holmes found forward Jalen Adaway who slammed home the pass for the last Bonnies lead of the game.
The Hawks could not get a go-ahead basket, and the game was decided when Hawks forward Ejike Obinna was called for an offensive foul as only 11.9 seconds were left to play.
“That was a great college basketball game,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Billy Lange. “Bonnies is experience, mature, continuity. That type of competition sharpens us. We organizationally did a lot of good things at the end of the game. When it was tight we didn’t fully execute. I’m encouraged by the knowledge and the lack of panic. We just need to execute a little better.”
Adaway scored a team-high 14 points. Kyle Lofton had 12 points and 8 rebounds. Osunniyi pulled down 7 rebounds and blocked 5 shots.
Taylor Funk led the Hawks with 19 points. He made 5 of 10 from beyond the arc, and pulled down 10 rebounds. Hall added 16 points to the SJU total.
St. Bonaventure moved up to 11 – 4, a half game behind Dayton. Saint Joseph’s drops to 4 – 12.
La Salle and Saint Joseph’s play each other on Wednesday on the Gola Arena floor.
Written By: Glenn Papazian