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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