St. Bonaventure has a way of making everything seem okay in Owl Country.
The men’s basketball team defeated the Bonnies, 87-66, on Saturday with strong shooting and relatively turnover-free play after having shot a woeful .323 from the field in a loss at Fordham three days earlier.
Saturday was back to business as usual for the Owls (9-8, 5-1), who had beaten the Bonnies by 24 points in their previous matchup Jan. 19. The Owls registered a season-high in points and hit more than half their field goal attempts for the second time in three games. The Bonnies (1-17, 0-7) are the sixth-worst team in Division I college basketball, according to ESPN.com.
The win righted the momentarily teetering Owls’ ship and kept them a half-game behind Saint Joseph’s (9-8, 6-1) for the lead in the Atlantic Ten Conference East Division. The Owls host Rhode Island tomorrow in the first of three straight home games.
Junior forward Antywane Robinson, the source of much of coach John Chaney’s angst this season, played 25 strong minutes. He scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbed three rebounds.
“Antywane is the key for our ball club,” Chaney said. “I think he worked really hard [Saturday] and he rebounded really well considering the minutes.”
Freshman guard Mark Tyndale led the Owls with 18 points. He also attempted six foul shots, hitting five, after having been shut down by Fordham. It was the 11th time this season Tyndale has led the Owls in free throw attempts.
Junior guard Mardy Collins and sophomore Dustin Salisbery scored 17 points each to give the Owls four starters in double figures.
Junior center Keith Butler had six points and three rebounds while committing just one foul in 18 minutes of play.
As a team, Temple shot .615 from three-point range to St. Bonaventure’s .269. The Owls outrebounded the Bonnies, 34-28, and forced 12 turnovers, committing only seven.
St. Bonaventure guard Ahmad Smith led all scorers with 23 points.
HELPING THE CAUSE
The Owls’ case for the postseason is getting a lot of help from teams they’ve already beaten. Georgetown lost to No. 8 Boston College on Saturday, but it was only a sputter in the resurgent Hoyas’ surprising season. Since their 75-57 loss to Temple in their season opener, the Hoyas are 12-5 and two games above .500 (5-3) in the powerful Big East Conference.
Likewise, Villanova (12-4, 4-3) has fought through injuries and is playing its best basketball in years. In their last three games the Wildcats beat then-No. 2 Kansas and tournament-hopeful Notre Dame, and crushed Rutgers by 33 points. The Owls beat the Wildcats, 53-52, at the Palestra earlier this season on a three-pointer by Salisbery.
THE RAMS, PART II
Rhode Island (4-13, 2-4) isn’t Temple’s most heralded opponent, but the Owls should be wary of a letdown one week after being beaten by another group of Rams at Fordham. Senior forward Scott Hazelton leads Rhode Island with 16.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Benjamin Watanabe can be reached at email@example.com.