By Jeff Fasoldt
Everyone at the Reilly Center could picture it in their head—Marcus Posley stepping back beyond the three point line and nailing a three to give the Bonnies a win and a perfect 2-0 record against the UMass Minutemen on the season: not to mention giving Posley his third game winner in a row—but it didn’t happen. In fact, Posley never even got the ball in the final seconds with St. Bonaventure trailing 55-53, as the UMass defenders swarmed him in unison.
Instead, Andell Cumberbatch, who had arguably his best game of the season took a three for the ‘W’ and listened to the students and fans sigh in disbelief as the shot clanked off the back of the rim, and the Bonnies dropped a heartbreaker in front of their home crowd.
Perhaps it should’ve never gotten to the point of having to attempt a game-winner because St. Bonaventure had the lead a good portion of the second half, even as much as by six with under three minutes to play. But, key turnovers down the stretch, including two huge ones that led to UMass points in the final minute, doomed the brown and white.
“I thought we did the job defensively, we just didn’t play 40 minutes,” said Bona’s coach Mark Schmidt. “We didn’t execute.”
Cumberbatch was the bright spot for the Bonnies who struggled to shoot in the first half at just over 30 percent from the field. He had 12, including a couple threes—something that would be nice to see consistently from him for the remaining games.
Posley picked it up in the second-half, scoring 10 of his 13. Still, you could see his rhythm wasn’t there and neither was his shot. At this point it’s almost unfair what everyone expects from the Bona junior after he’s hit two game winners in a row and been in the national spotlight of late.
Dion Wright, the most consistent player on this Bonnies squad had 10 and a team-high eight rebounds.
As much as this was a tough loss for Bonnies fans, you have to give this UMass team credit. They have solid leadership that has helped turn a dismal season around as they’ve won their last five.
Trey Davis, UMass’s starting point guard, led the team with 12 points and also had a big-time steal at the end of the game that led to a trip to the foul line and ultimately helped destroy the Bonnies lead.
Cady Lalanne, the big man inside for the Minutemen, also played well with 10 points and five rebounds. But, the MVP for UMass goes to Jabarie Hinds, who despite just taking five shots and two threes—hit the biggest three of the night to put UMass up by two with eight seconds left and sink the Bonnies hopes.
“They hit a big shot,” said Schmidt. “You have to give them credit.”
Next game for the Bonnies will be a tough road trip to Dayton who defeated them earlier in the season 78-61 at the Reilly Center.