Winning Streak Comes To an End as Men’s Basketball Falls to St. Bonaventure 79-64

The Ramblers were led by fourth-year forward Philip Alston who finished with 12 points and graduate guard Braden Norris who recorded 11 points and nine assists.

The Loyola men’s basketball team stumbled on the road against St. Bonaventure University Feb. 27, falling 79-64 as the Bonnies snapped the Ramblers’ seven game win streak. 

The Ramblers were led by fourth-year forward Philip Alston who finished with 12 points and graduate guard Braden Norris who recorded 11 points and nine assists. Third-year guard Des Watson added nine points and nine rebounds. Fourth-year guard Daryl Banks III stood out for St. Bonaventure with 26 points. 

Loyola made the trip to upstate New York with a share of first place in the Atlantic 10 after improving to 20-7 and 12-2 in conference following an 80-59 defeat of George Mason University Feb. 24. The Bonnies welcomed Loyola to the Reilly Center sitting at 17-10 and 8-7 in A-10 play. 

The Ramblers got off to a hot start and jumped to a 6-0 lead after fourth-year guard Sheldon Edwards connected from beyond the arc. Second-year St. Bonaventure forward Assa Essamovus got his team on the board with a turn-around fade away jumper. 

Norris hit a 3-pointer to put Loyola up 9-2, but the Bonnies seized the momentum and exploded for a 14-0 run spurred by two scores inside from third-year forward Chad Venning and three free throws by Banks III. 

Venning dropped in a hook shot to put his team up 16-9. Graduate guard Dame Adelekun stopped the bleeding when he spun around Venning on the block for a reverse layup, bringing Loyola within five at 16-11. 

Venning scored through a foul inside and made the point after. On the other end, second-year guard Jayden Dawson hit a 3-pointer, making it 19-14. A late foul was called on graduate forward Tom Welch as Banks III drained a pull up mid-range jumper. Banks III converted on the three point play to extend the Bonnie lead. 

Graduate guard Greg Dolan splashed a 3-pointer and Norris found graduate forward Patrick Mwamba cutting to the rim to make it 25-21. Banks III added two free throws and third-year St. Bonaventure center Noel Brown muscled through Welch on the block to make it 29-21. 

Alston managed two free throws then graduate Bonnie guard Charles Pride electrified the home fans as he took advantage of a Loyola turnover with a step-back 3-pointer, extending the 32-23 lead. Turnovers plagued the Ramblers as they gave the ball away 19 times throughout the game. 

Venning went two for two at the line and on the next possession his hook shot bounced away, but Pride got the offensive rebound and drew a foul as he laid it back in. He converted on the free throw, putting St. Bonaventure up 39-23. Norris made a 3-pointer, putting an end to the 10-0 Bonnie run before Banks III hit two free throws to send the teams into the halftime break with the scoreboard reading 41-26. 

Loyola got the second half started on the right foot after Norris jumped into the passing lane and hit Alston down floor for a flashy two-hand jam. On the next possession, Watson threw up a lob for Alston which he brought down with force to cut the deficit to 41-30. 

Venning and Brown stabilized the Bonnies with scores inside and Pride added on with a corner 3-pointer to make it 48-33. Alston earned a trip to the line and sank both before Banks III made a step-back jumper. 

Venning and Adelekun traded buckets before second-year guard Jayden Dawson connected on a 3-pointer, cutting the Loyola deficit to 52-41. Banks III kept his team in the driver’s seat with back-to-back 3-pointers before Welch took advantage of being left open and made a 3-pointer, setting the score at 60-44. 

Fourth-year Bonnie guard Moses Flowers scored through a blocking foul called on Norris and converted on the point after making it 65-44. Watson sparked a 7-1 Loyola run all on his own after he converted on an and-one and hit a deep 3-pointer. 

Loyola head coach Drew Valentine put on a full court press that disrupted St. Bonaventure’s offensive rhythm and set up Dawson beyond the arc as the Ramblers drew within 12 at 68-56. Flowers and Banks III turned in successful trips to the charity stripe as the Bonnies held the Ramblers at bay. 

Loyola showed signs of life with just over four minutes to play when Norris drained a three in the corner and Dawson drew a foul after forcing a steal on an inbound pass. Dawson missed both his free throws and the Bonnies picked up the pace finding Brown under the rim for an easy dunk, sticking the Ramblers down 74-59. 

Loyola wasn’t able to come up with a late surge as St. Bonaventure closed them out 79-64. Valentine said he thought the game was similar to the team’s losses earlier in the season.

“Just a lack of competitive discipline that put us in a position where we were scratching and clawing from behind,” Valentine said. “A bunch of guys didn’t have it tonight and that’s OK. We’re not going to have it every night and not play perfect every night.”

The Bonnies gained a slight edge in rebounds finishing with 35 to the Ramblers’ 34. Loyola won out in assists with 17 to St. Bonaventure’s 10. The Bonnies took better care of the ball, only surrendering 14 turnovers to Loyola’s 19. The Ramblers shot just 38% from the field while St. Bonaventure was more efficient, shooting 45%. 

The Ramblers return home to Gentile Arena Friday, March 1 when they welcome No. 22 Dayton University. First-tip is scheduled for 8 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and on the radio on Rambler Sports Network.

Featured image by Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix

Griffin Krueger

Griffin Krueger

Griffin Krueger is the Editor-in-Chief of The Phoenix. He began working for The Phoenix during his first week at Loyola and previously served as Assistant News Editor and Sports Editor. Krueger is a fourth-year Political Science major with minors in Economics and History. In his free time he enjoys reading and exploring the city on his bike.