Men’s basketball: Franciscan Cup returns to Bonaventure in 81-74 victory

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

It wasn’t going to be a Franciscan Cup game without a little last-minute drama.

This time, unlike the past three meetings with Siena, St. Bonaventure was the team able to break through and grab an 81-74 victory in front of 3,859 observers Wednesday night at the Reilly Center. The Bonnies improved to 4-2 on the season, dropping the Saints to 2-5.

The key play of the game came courtesy of Bona’s superstar point guard.

After a Brett Bisping layup cut the SBU lead to 74-73 with 1:03 to play, Jaylen Adams was able to foil a Saints’ double-team attempt, drive to the basket and make the layup as he was fouled by Javion Ogunyemi with 41 seconds left.

Despite a 25-of-34 start to the year from the foul line, a lower mark than he is used to from the striple, Adams completed the traditional three-point play, the last of six perfect free throws on the day.

Saints coach Jimmy Patsos compared doubling Adams to doubling Davidson great Stephen Curry when he was coaching at Loyola-Maryland.

Unlike that game, where Patsos achieved his goal of holding Curry scoreless despite a blowout loss, the Adams trap was unsuccessful, and may have cost his squad the game.

The Saints made a frantic attempt to come back, with a trip to the line and two three-point misses, but after the and-one, it was all she wrote: the Bonnies had secured their first Franciscan Cup since 2012.

Adams finished with 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting, including three makes from behind the three-point arc. He also registered five assists, four rebounds and a steal in 39 minutes of play.

Backcourt mate Matt Mobley played all 40 minutes and poured in 20 points, including nine free throws, as well as grabbing eight boards. Denzel Gregg recorded his third consecutive double double with a 13-point, 10-rebound effort. David Andoh had his first double-figure scoring output and most playing time in a Bona uniform, compiling 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting in 27 minutes.

“It’s always a great game when we play Siena… this game we found a way,” Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said. “It wasn’t always pretty, we didn’t play our best, but we did shoot the ball well from the foul line, we made the plays when we needed to make the plays. I thought (Adams) played extremely well, especially in the second half. I thought (Andoh) was a big key coming in and getting 13 points for us.”

Bona was 23-of-27 from the free throw line, while Siena only made 18 of its 32 freebies. Despite outrebounding the Bonnies 43-41, Siena scored two fewer points in the paint. The Saints also turned the ball over 19 times, and SBU scored 21 points off those errors.

“They’re a veteran team, strong guys inside, and we knew coming into the game that we were gonna have our hands full inside against Ogunyemi and Long and Bisping, but we found a way,” Schmidt said. “And thank goodness that Siena didn’t shoot the ball well from the foul line. But we defended decently, we battled on the backboard even though we lost it, and we’re still a work in progress but I think we took another step in the right direction… against a really good team.”

Adams didn’t intend to take the game over offensively, not even when he scored or assisted on 12 straight Bonaventure points from the 9:57 mark to when there was 6:34 remaining.

“I think we’ve got a bunch of guys who are perfectly capable of doing that, but I think I just had the hot hand, and they just kept going to me,” he said. Of the and-one that sealed the victory, he recalled, “I came off the screen, I just saw the lane and thought I needed to attack and score, and it dropped for me.”

 

 

Bringing the Cup trophy back to Olean and snapping the three-year losing streak won’t mean a lot for the team tomorrow, as they will be preparing for another rivalry game on Saturday against Buffalo. But for a night, the players who watched one, two or three last-minute decisions go the other way in Albany or the Reilly Center got a weight off their shoulders.

“It’s a good feeling,” Adams said. “Even though I wasn’t here for all of them, I did lose to them two straight years. So it’s a good feeling, they’re a good team.

“Hats off to them, they’re a good team but I’m happy we were able to come away with the win.”

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