It is hard enough when a team is so inconsistent that it can't figure out what it's going to do game to game.

Minute to minute becomes maddening.

La Salle's 79-68 loss to St. Bonaventure in an Atlantic 10 game Tuesday at Tom Gola Arena was a microcosm of their season.

It featured the inconsistency the Explorers (10-16, 4-9) have shown all season, displayed in segments of minutes between scheduled timeouts.

For the first four minutes, La Salle shot 75 percent and made three three-pointers to lead 11-9 over the Bonnies (19-6, 9-4).

The Explorers started the season hot, too, with wins over Saint Peter's, Penn and South Alabama.

Against the Bonnies, the Explorers cooled down a bit but still led 15-12 with 11½ minutes remaining in the first half, largely due to Pookie Powell, who finished with 15 points.

La Salle suffered its first loss at Northwestern and then dropped games against Power 5 teams Boston College and then-No. 11 Miami. The Explorers, however, did win two of their next three to be 5-4 in early December.

Down by seven, the Bonnies used a 12-6 run to go up 24-21 at a media timeout at the 7:10 mark.

A loss to Drexel sent the Explorers to three losses in five games and they finished the calendar year at 7-7.

Paced by Matt Mobley, who 18 of his game-high 30, points, and Jaylen Adams who had 12, St. Bonaventure finished the half on an 18-11 run to lead 42-32 at the intermission.

After the hot start, the Explorers ended shooting 37.0 percent over the first 20 minutes.

The Explorers began the new year with a four-game losing streak and have not won consecutive games in 2018.

In the second half, La Salle made some small runs but St. Bonaventure never lost control of the game.

"We're not the same team we were two weeks ago," La Salle coach John Giannini said.

The Bonnies extended the Explorers' losing streak to three games.

"We're playing worse," Giannini said. "I think we have some kids who are trying too hard and some that are a bit fragile. We've got to get back to work.

"Our fundamentals are so poor. What makes it more frustrating is that I like my team and I've seen us play well. It's really hard to figure out. From myself to them, something is coming up short. It's too bad because we have good kids and we have enough good players to win."

Saul Phiri led the Explorers with 22 points. A-10 leading scorer B.J. Johnson was limited to 10 points.

Amar Stukes, of La Salle, shoots over St. Bonaventure swingman Courtney Stockard during the second half on Tuesday.
Steven M. Falk / Staff
Amar Stukes, of La Salle, shoots over St. Bonaventure swingman Courtney Stockard during the second half on Tuesday.