By: Mike Hogan
13,479 = Bona magic.
It might just be a Bonaventure Christmas after all, folks.
Last night the Bonnies made history that fans, students, alumni, and every member of that team will live to talk about forever. It had been a long 13, 479 days since the Bonnies had last defeated a Syracuse team, January 26th of 1981 to be exact, and now we flash forward to the roller coaster of a night it was for us all as we watched a Bonnies team take a 13 point lead in the middle of the second half at the Carrier Dome. And then we watched the Bonnies crumble against that stingy Syracuse press and also watched that 13 point lead shrink to 3, 2, and then it was tied.
Every emotion you could possibly go through as a fan, you went through last night. Then there was overtime where the Orange took a brief lead, but this resilient Bona bunch would not stop there.
They fought for Bonaventure, for the fans, for the history of it all. They claimed their first ever win at a place where too many teams go to die, the Carrier Dome, against Jim Boeheim’s team; The Jim Boeheim that will only play Bonaventure unless they come to him, and did they ever come to him last night.
Jaylen Adams showed up. In a game like this one on the road against a solid opponent in a hostile environment, you want nothing more than for your star player to do what star players should do, and Jaylen Adams certainly did a lot last night.
A barrage of 3 pointers, some from way downtown, and 23 first half points the Bonnies found themselves up by as much as ten in the first halves final minutes, and after a buzzer beating 3 pointer by the Orange to end the first half the Bonnies still went into the break with a comfortable seven point lead.
The Bonnies started the second half strong again and eventually pushed their lead to as much as 13 after a deep Matt Mobley 3 ball and a beautiful slam by LaDarien Griffin combined with excellent defense lead to an Orange time out. After the timeout, the game took what seemed to be a turn for the worst. The Bonnies came out of the timeout near the 11 minute mark of the second half leading 51-38, and then the Orange turned on the heat. The Orange threw the full court press at the Bonnies, and held them to just two points the rest of the way.
The Bonnies held on for dear life the rest of the way, as the clung to just a small lead for the final five minutes before Syracuse was finally able to climb the hill and knot things up at 53 after holding SBU scoreless for 7:17 seconds. The final seconds of regulation were a scrambling mess as the Orange put the ball into the hands of Tyus Battle at an attempt to end the game at the buzzer, but as the Bonnies were able to do all night, they shut him down and the game was headed to overtime. The roller coaster of emotions was NOT done just yet, it was just getting through its first 360, in fact.
In overtime, Syracuse took its first lead of the second half of play, but it was brief. The Bonnies defense held it together, which lead to Courtney Stockard knocking down 3 of 4 free throws from the line to give the Bonnies a slight 58-55 edge. Syracuse then made things interesting yet again when Oshae Brissett sliced his way through the lane to make it a one point game. Brissett found himself with the ball in his hands in the final seconds of overtime with a chance to win, but as he drove to the lane and made the basket, Courtney Stockard arguably made the play of the night by stepping in front of Brissett to take a charge.
Are we done yet? Nope. Jaylen Adams sunk 2 crucial free throws from the line. The Orange charged up the floor with seconds to go and just as the open man, Brissett, was able to get a possible game tying 3 off, LaDarien Griffin, a guy who struggled offensively all night long came out of nowhere to swat the 3 ball out of the air. The emotional roller coaster had come to an end to drop Syracuse off, and to take the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure for a victory ride.
“S-B-U, S-B-U, S-B-U!” chants rang through the Dome, Bonnies fans hugging, jumping, and crying enough to send a chill down your spine were shown on ESPN. This was big for the school, the students, the fans, the alumni, and this team. December 22nd of 2017 will be talked about forever. It was the night Christmas came early for the Bona faithful, it was the night that sent a shockwave through the state of New York, it was the night that the Bonnies came to Jim Boehiem in his house and finally beat his team for the first time since 1981. It was a night that was very hard for me to put into words. Enjoy this Bona fans, party like it’s 1981.