Courtesy of GoBonnies.com
CHICAGO – St. Bonaventure never found traction offensively and fell at Loyola Chicago Saturday afternoon, 67-55, inside Gentile Arena.
Chad Venning was the offensive bright spot for the Bonnies, posting a game-high 16 points.
In all, though, the Bonnies were held to 31 percent shooting and just 4-of-22 from long range.
St. Bonaventure (10-10, 4-3 A-10) led 16-10 early before the Ramblers embarked on a 10-0 run over a three-minute stretch to surge ahead.
With the maroon and gold clad Loyola crowd at a roar, the Bonnies finally ended their drought on a jumper by Moses Flowers with 6:14 left before halftime.
Loyola (7-12, 1-6) led by six as its high-water mark during the first 20 minutes before the Bonnies trimmed the deficit to 31-27 at the break.
From that point, Loyola would never trail again, though the game was a two-possession contest for nearly the entire day.
The Ramblers immediately stretched the advantage to their largest lead of the afternoon to that point with an eight-point spread after posting the first two buckets out of intermission.
Bona cut that margin in half, but mounting foul trouble hampered efforts of getting closer.
Flowers was whistled for his fourth foul with still 12:50 remaining, and the third against Venning soon followed, while Daryl Banks III was already playing with three fouls.
Banks brought the Bonnies to within three, 42-39, with a trey just before the shot clock buzzer, but then he was also cited for his fourth personal with 10:07 remaining.
After Loyola threatened to put the game out of reach given the premium placed on offense during the contest, seven quick points from Barry Evans brought the Bonnies back within just one possession.
As the clock ticked under five minutes, though, Ben Schwieger drilled two key three-pointers for a nine-point lead, 58-49.
Bona climbed as close as six, 60-54, in the final three minutes, but the Ramblers were true from the line to maintain control.
Tom Welch posted 16 points for the Ramblers, and the hosts shot 51 percent from the floor despite leading scorer Philip Alston being held to five points.
Loyola entered the day with the most turnovers of any A-10 squad, but took care of the ball well enough Saturday as the Ramblers finished with 13 miscues.
The Bonnies gave themselves an opportunity offensively with plenty of second chances – the visitors pulled down 17 offensive boards, but 13 second chance points would not be enough.