By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
It has often been said that in rivalry games, you can toss records and statistics from previous games out the window.
Wednesday night’s Franciscan Cup game between the St. Bonaventure Bonnies and Siena Saints was a shining example of that old adage.
The inexperienced Bonnies saw their frenetic comeback attempt fall short on Wednesday night, dropping a 73-70 contest to a Siena Saints team that entered the game 0-2.
The young Bona team showed flashes of offensive brilliance, but they couldn’t find a consistent shooting stroke, shooting just 38.7 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from the free throw line in an abysmal offensive performance.
One of the main factors in the poor shooting performance was Siena’s 2-3 zone, which worked like a charm for the first time in the young season and proved to be too much for Bonaventure to handle.
“We didn’t attack the zone like we needed to,” said Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt. “Siena was smart to stay in it.”
“We need to execute better both offensively and defensively,” Schmidt continued. “We’re going to come back tomorrow and see what we did wrong.”
Back-to-back three-pointers by Marcus Posley and Jaylen Adams cut the Siena lead to just four with two minutes left, but the Saints made a couple layups to pull away again with a minute left. Andell Cumberbatch’s two threes and Marcus Posley’s buzzer-beating triple proved to be mere stat-stuffers on the score sheet in the end.
“It’s a good sign that we kept on fighting,” said Schmidt. “We could have easily laid down, but no one on this team is going to quit.”
Cumberbatch led SBU with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Marcus Posley added 22 and seven. Unfortunately, for the brown and white, the rest of the team was only able to muster 26 points combined.
The 1-1 Bonnies face Canisius in another rivalry game on Saturday afternoon. If Golden Griffins coach Jim Baron is wise, he will take advantage of the Bonnies’ lack of execution against the zone and implement that into his game plan.
It’s up to Mark Schmidt’s team to learn how to execute against a zone defense to avoid another long game of misses and disappointments.