Given the backdrop and significance of the game, it has been a long time since a player on an at-large contender had as big of a night as what Marcus Posley just accomplished for St. Bonaventure.
The senior lit up Saint Joseph’s for 47 points in the Bonnies’ 98-90 victory on Wednesday. He was 15 for 19 from the field, 6 for 7 from 3-point range. The Bonnies shot 64 percent and set a single-game season high in points. Posley went on a personal 11-0 run to pull his team away late in the second half.
St. Bonaventure has won nine of its past 10 and is as close as it could possibly be to achieving lock status without actually achieving lock status. This win means a season sweep for the Bonnies over the Hawks. That is going to be an ace up the program’s sleeve when it comes time for the selection committee to slot the teams.
Now 21-7, with a 13-4 mark in the Atlantic 10, St. Bonaventure can share the league crown with VCU and Saint Joe’s if it wins at Saint Louis on Saturday. If it does that, the Bonnies will be in the Big Dance no matter what they do in next week’s A-10 tournament.
Saint Joe’s (24-6, 13-4), which is almost definitely going to be in the NCAA Tournament regardless of how it plays over the next 7-11 days, had four starters score at least 18 points. And how often do you see a team take more than 20 foul shots, make all but one of them, and still lose? SJU did that, going 22 of 23 from the charity stripe on Wednesday.
This kind of outcome is good for the Atlantic 10, which will almost certainly send four teams to the NCAAs. Dayton, VCU and Saint Joseph’s are in good shape, while St. Bonaventure and George Washington have worthy résumés to this point. The A-10 tourney in Brooklyn next week is probably going to be drama-laden. Not only will at-large bids be on the line, but there’s still plenty of room to move up in terms of seeding for every aforementioned ball club.