(Jaylen Adams Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
When the Bonnies prepared to inbound the ball with the game tied and 15 seconds on the clock on Sunday, Marcus Posley looked at backcourt mate Jaylen Adams and pointed to his wrist.
“It’s go time,” Posley said.
“That’s something Jaylen and I have been doing since last year,” said Posley. “It’s kind of like our little inside thing. He knows to look, when we hit that wrist, it’s time to go and he knows to lock in.”
Bona never really got going in its 65-62 victory over Saint Louis, but on the final play, Posley found Adams behind the arc and the sophomore knocked down the 24-foot buzzer-beater. A year to the day of Posley’s buzzer-beater to defeat VCU, the brown and white had another last-second shot to celebrate.
Unlike the VCU game, this matchup really should have never come down to the buzzer. The Bonnies were 14-point favorites coming off their most impressive win of their season on Wednesday night at St. Joseph’s.
Instead of keeping the momentum going and blowing the Billikens out of the water, however, SBU trailed for 33 minutes and led for just three. It turned over the ball 16 times and shot just 39.2 percent from the floor, including an abhorrent 2-of-13 mark from three-point range in the first half.
Bonaventure’s “Big 3” of Adams, Posley and Dion Wright struggled mightily in the first half, combining for just 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting. In the first 20 minutes of the St. Joe’s game, Adams and Wright had 12 each.
“Honestly, I don’t think I ever really got going at all,” Adams said. “Credit Saint Louis’ defense, they kind of play a packed-in defense and dare you to take a bunch of jump shots; they just weren’t falling.
“We got to the line a little bit and it made it a little bit easier, but I don’t think I ever got going,” he continued.
In Sunday’s second half, however, Adams was able to record 14 of his game-high 19 points. Posley and Wright each had better outputs as well, scoring nine each to give themselves 15 and 14, respectively.
A major stretch in the game occurred just before the penultimate media timeout. After encountering its biggest deficit of the game by going down eight with 8:56 to play, Bona cut the Billiken lead to three in a matter of 48 seconds. Wright made two free throws and assisted Posley on a timely three-pointer.
The Bonnies would outscore SLU 18-12 the rest of the way, capped off by the game-winner that occurred right after an easy layup by Billikens guard Mike Crawford.
“I think a sign of a good team is when you don’t play your best and you find a way to win,” said Bona coach Mark Schmidt. “That’s a credit to our guys and their mental toughness.
“The mindset was really, really important; we talked about that for two days. You gotta let (the St. Joe’s game) go and now you gotta prepare for the next one. You can’t allow St. Joe’s to beat you today. That was a big concern. As much as you talk about it, you’re dealing with 18-22 year old kids that don’t always understand. This was a great lesson, it got their attention a little bit.”
Teams often receive wake-up calls like the Bonnies (15-6, 7-3) got today, especially in the A-10; George Washington and Davidson were humbled by the same Billikens team. But Adams’s shot ensured that the wake-up call wouldn’t leave a bitter taste in the players’ mouths, or destroy their postseason hopes.
“We kind of drew up a play for Marcus to go score, really for him to just make a play,” Adams said.
“They helped (defensively) a little hard off me, he kicked it and I was able to hit it.”