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.

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Men’s basketball: Bonnies determined to reclaim Franciscan Cup

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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

St. Bonaventure junior guard Idris Taqqee knows tonight’s Franciscan Cup showdown with Siena at the Reilly Center isn’t “just another game.”

With Siena’s three-game win streak over Bona and questions being raised over whether fiery Saints coach Jimmy Patsos has SBU coach Mark Schmidt’s proverbial number, this one’s personal.

“I know they’re expecting it to be a big crowd after last year,” Taqqee said of his team’s second consecutive 73-70 defeat to its rival from Albany. “It was a bad upset, especially since we went into Christmas break with that loss… So it’s definitely a (bad) taste in our mouth, fan-wise and us, personally.

“I think we definitely are gonna take it personally.”

There are no holdovers from the squad that last beat Bona’s sister school. That game, a 58-43 victory on Dec. 4, 2012, gave the Bonnies a 3-0 record in the Franciscan Cup series that was established in 2010.

Now, the series is even, and Bonaventure is carrying a definite chip on its shoulder, as evidenced by Taqqee’s comments.

“Only being like three or four of us right now who have played them, I think it’s one thing we want to get across to everyone else that’s new to the team,” Taqqee said. “It’s something big to us, but also to the fans and coaches.

“It’s not just us looking at it like we’ve lost three in a row, it’s like we have to do something for the program. And that’s one thing I feel like we need to let everybody know right away when we come out.”

Reclaiming the trophy and bragging rights that come with it won’t be easy, as the Saints return four of the five players who started in last year’s game.

Marquis Wright, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, has been one of the focal points of his team’s re-emergence in the rivalry. As a freshman, Wright made the game-winning shot at the buzzer. In 2014, he had a team-high 15 points and last year he had a game-high 20.

“He’s had success his whole career, he’s a good player,” Schmidt said. “He can score in all three areas of the court- beyond the arc, inside and to the rim. He makes them go offensively, he leads the team in assists. He’s a really good player, and you’re not gonna be able to stop him; you just hope to make it a little bit more difficult for him to score.”

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Too little, too late: Bonnies fall to Siena

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.

Men’s basketball: Siena Preview


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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The Franciscan Cup will be on the line when the 1-0 St. Bonaventure Bonnies host the 0-2 Siena Saints Wednesday night at 7.

Since the sides agreed to play on an annual basis in 2010, Bonaventure leads the series 3-1. The Siena win came last year, when Saints guard Marquis Wright went coast-to-coast for a game-winning layup.

Will the Bonnies reclaim the Cup, or will the Saints bring it back to Albany? Let’s break it down.

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt. 107-110 as Bonnies coach.

Siena: Jimmy Patsos. 20-19 as Saints coach.

Key players for Siena:

Rob Poole- 6-6 senior guard. Poole was the team’s leading scorer last year with 14.6 points a game and has averaged 20 over the team’s first two games. One thing that jumps out on his highlight tape is that he doesn’t settle for bad jumpers. He’s aggressive, using his size to burrow his way to the hoop for a layup or to create his own shot if he can’t get inside. He has also made steady improvement defensively, going from 3.3 rebounds his freshman year to five boards a contest last season. Poole is a lethal threat on offense and an impact player on D, and containing him is going to be a main priority for the Bonnies.

Brett Bisping- 6-8 junior forward. Bisping has struggled in the Saints’ first two games, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has double-double potential on any given night. He averaged 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, with 18 games of 10-plus points and five-plus rebounds. He’s not a consistent three-point threat, but he made 31.6% of his chances from behind the arc last year so you can’t rule out the possibility. Bisping’s ability to stuff the stat sheet makes him a dangerous forward to watch for.

Marquis Wright- 6-foot sophomore guard. The hero of last year’s game, Wright fits the role of an efficient point guard, with 8.7 points and five assists a game and 42% shooting last year. As a sophomore, he has more experience and showed increased care in protecting the ball in the first two games this season. Wright isn’t the go-to scoring option on this team, but he will be counted on to facilitate.

Keys to victory for Siena: The Saints will need to fix a couple of things that put them in an 0-2 hole if they hope to get their first win of the season. Firstly, they need to have better perimeter defense. Their first two opponents, UMass and Vermont, were a combined 11-26 from three-point land, a 42.3% clip. Bonaventure went 9-21 from behind the arc in their season-opening win over Dartmouth, with Jaylen and Jalen Adams going 6-7. With potent shooters like those, Siena needs to close out hard and deny them the good looks they were getting on Saturday. Getting Poole the ball is obviously essential as well. He has the size advantage over Bonaventure’s guards, so he will have to use that to his advantage. The athletic Bonnies will go on some runs, so Poole is going to have to score in bunches to keep the Saints in the game.

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: Bonaventure has to continue to share the ball. Mark Schmidt’s mantra is that every player is going to have his day in the sun, so they have to be unselfish and let it happen. If they’re swinging the ball and getting everyone involved, the Bonnies are a tough team to beat, especially with this much depth and talent. Drawing fouls will also be a path to victory. The Saints committed 63 fouls in the first two games, giving UMass and Siena a combined 90 free throws. The Bonnies got to the line with some regularity in the first game, shooting 22 free throws; Andell Cumberbatch scored six of his ten points from the stripe. Schmidt should be imploring his team to attack the basket tonight and see if Siena continues to play with a lack of discipline. Rebounding is the key on defense.

Youssou Ndoye’s absence led to some understandable struggles on the glass against Dartmouth, but he’s back and ready to grab those boards. Ndoye’s improvement is one of the main reasons SBU will win this game. He committed four turnovers in last year’s loss to the Saints, including a travel on the last Bonaventure possession to set up Wright’s game-winner. The Atlantic 10 Tournament sparked a change, however, and Ndoye has played with much more control since then. He’s going to have a big game tonight, leading the Bonnies to victory in another close Franciscan Cup rivalry game.

The Prediction: 75-68 Bonnies