Posley’s record night paces Bona

(Photo courtesy of St. Bonaventure Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of St. Bonaventure Athletics)

By PAUL GOTHAM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Move over Buddy Hield. There’s a new gunner in town. His name is Marcus Posley.

Not that he needs any introduction to upstate New York residents.

Posley’s jaw-dropping, eye-opening, hyperbole-rendering 47-point performance Wednesday night proved to be the center piece in St. Bonaventure’s 98-90 victory over Saint Joseph’s in Atlantic 10 action at the Blue Cross Arena.

Posley connected on 15-of-19 shots from the floor including 6-of-7 from behind (some way behind) the 3-point arc to best Hield’s 46-point outing that stood as the season’s highest in Division I.

“Crazy to think I was in my townhouse watching Buddy Hield go off on Kansas is just pretty cool,” Posley said. “To be in this position right now I’m just blessed.”

Hield hit 13-of-23 (8-of-15 from long range) in Oklahoma’s double overtime loss at then No. 1 Kansas on January 4th.

Posley, who received a ball in pre-game ceremony for scoring 1,000 points in his Bona career, accomplished his feat against a Saint Joseph’s defense holding opposing teams to 29.5 percent (fifth in the nation) from behind the arc.

“We didn’t do enough with Posley,” Saint Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli said. “It was just a rhythm game. They probably should give him a ball now.  Like that was a thousand points, too, in one game.”

Bona needed every point Posley contributed as the Hawks rallied from a 13-point deficit at halftime to take a 55-53 lead with 12:50 remaining in the game.

Posley netted 11 over the next 4:52 to give SBU a 74-60 lead they never surrendered. He capped a sequence in which the Bonnies scored on ten straight possessions hitting a triple with a hand in his face from 25 feet.

“I’ve been doing this for a long, long time,” Bona head coach Mark Schmidt said. “That’s the best performance that I’ve seen as  since I was on the sideline as a coach, a head coach or an assistant coach. That was just incredible.”

The win was Bona’s fifth straight over Saint Joseph’s (24-6/13-4) and eighth out of the last ten in the head-to-head series dating back to February 29, 2012. Wednesday’s triumph appeared to be the result of a carry over effect from last month’s win in Philadelphia when Jaylen Adams scored 31 on 6-of-12 shooting from long range. The Hawks’ defense keyed on Adams routinely doubling ball screens at the top of the key in attempt to get the ball out of the sophomore point guard’s hands. As a result, Posley was left with one-on-one coverage.

“They were doubling the high ball screen, and it took Jay out of his comfort zone,” Schmidt explained. “He passed the ball. He got it out of there, and Marcus and Dion (Wright) and Denzel (Gregg), they made plays.

“Going into the game, Jay had 31 against them in game one, so they tried to take the ‘known’ away. What they considered the ‘known.’ Marcus and Denzel and Dion did what they are supposed to do. Marcus did more than what he is supposed to do. We handled that well.”

“I felt like if I got the ball on the wing in a good position, they didn’t really double down on me at all,” Posley stated. “I was like ‘make ‘em pay for it.’ If I drive and I get by them and someone steps up, someone else is going to be open.

“But most of the time I was getting past the defender in front of me. I was able to get to the rim or I was creating separation for a jump shot. Just had a hot hand don’t really know what to say.”

Posley picked up his second foul less than eight minutes into the game. He returned five minutes later with Bona leading by three. The 6-0 senior guard from Rockford, Illinois nailed a pull-up three on his first catch.

“I trust him,” Schmidt said of the decision to put his senior back in the game. “We were switching a lot. But when he went back in we stopped switching and tried to put him on someone that’s not going to drive the ball and put him in foul trouble. In a game like this, we needed him on the court.”

Moments later Posley used a shoulder shimmy to finish a layup on the break for a seven-point SBU advantage at 29-22. He added six more before the teams went into the locker room.

“The guys ran (the offense) through me,” Posley stated. “The coaches ran it through me. I think what happened is I was hitting shots early. They were just getting me good looks, and I got in rhythm early so that helped.”

Posley scored 28 on 9-of-12 shooting in the second half.

“I had a couple quick transition buckets in the second half that got me going. I think that’s what got me heating up.”

He made it a 15-point game when he took a feed from teammate Idris Taqqee and beat the shot clock with a motion that resembled more of a volleyball set than a shot.

“That’s when I knew it was just my night,” Posley said with a smile. “I kicked it to ‘Dris.’ I thought he was going to actually drive it and put it up. He just kicked it back to me, and I just knew there was two seconds on the clock and just threw it up. Buzzer went off, and it went in. I was just like ‘Wow!’ Forget it. I mean it went in. It was my night.”

He punctuated the night with a trey off a ball screen in which he used a behind the back dribble to free himself of two Saint Joseph’s defenders before connecting from 27 feet.

“If I got the ball in my hand, the only thing that was going through my head was just attack, attack, attack.”

Wright finished with 22 points for Bona. Gregg added 14. Adams handed out a game-high seven assists.

Posley’s 47 were four shy of the school record set bay Bob Lanier.

Isaiah Miles and Shavar Newkirk led Saint Joseph’s with 19 apiece. DeAndre’ Bembry and Aaron Brown both had 18.

The Hawks came in 10.2 turnovers a game and had 13 mishandles on the night.

With the win, St. Bonaventure (21-7/13-4) moves into a three-way tie for second in the A-1o with Dayton and the Hawks. Dayton closes the season at home against first-place VCU (22-8/14-3). Saint Joseph’s hosts Duquesne (15-15/5-12) while Bona travels to play at Saint Louis (10-19/5-12).

Ironically, the University of Washington’s Andrew Andrews (insert your Cheers reference – ‘Andy Andy’ – here) also netted 47 points Wednesday night. The Huskies senior hit 13-of-22 and 5-of-7 to match Posley.

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