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December 24, 2015, Troy, New York  On December 22, 2015, Saint Bonaventure University and Siena College, in a battle of mid-major programs, met for The Franciscan Cup. The Bonnies of St. Bonaventure are located in western NY and the Siena Saints are located in Loudonville, a suburb of Albany. The Saints play their home games off campus at the Times Union Center in downtown Albany.

The Bonnies arrived with a record of 7-2 and are members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Their head coach Mark Schmidt is in his ninth season and was named the A-10 Coach of The Year in 2012. The Bonnies won the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. They were led by Canadian big man Andrew Nicholson. Nicholson is a member of the Orlando Magic and a 1st round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. St. Bonaventure’s most famous basketball alum is Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer, Bob Lanier. Lanier was the number one overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft. The current team is led by leading scorer, senior guard Marcus Posley at 18.1 ppg and sophomore guard Jaylen Adams at 16.2 ppg. Senior forward Dion Wright averages 16.2 ppg and leads the team in rebounding at 8.8 per game.

The Siena Saints entered the contest with a record of 7-4 and were coming off a break of ten days between games. The head coach is Jimmy Patsos, who is in his third season with the program. Patsos arrived at Siena after nine seasons as head coach at Loyola College of Maryland. Siena and Loyola are both members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Patsos won the MAAC Conference Tournament  with the Greyhounds to advance to the 2012 NCAA TournamentPatsos was an assistant at the University of Maryland College Park during their Final Four seasons of 2001 and 2002. The Terrapins won the National Championship in 2002. The Saints experienced tremendous success between 2008 and 2010, winning 3 consecutive MAAC conference championships and were 2-3 in NCAA Tournament games with victories over Vanderbilt in 2008 and Ohio State in 2009.

Former coach Fran McCaffery left after the 2010 season to take over at University of Iowa of the Big Ten Conference. Guard Kenny Hasbrouck was on the Miami Heat’s roster towards the end of the 2010 NBA season but did not appear in any games. Forward Edwin Ubiles signed a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards during the 2012 season. The current team has a very balanced attack with five players averaging double figures. Junior guard Marquis Wright leads the team in scoring at 17.3 ppg., and freshman guard Nico Clareth leads the reserves at 10.4 ppg. Junior forward Brett Bisping leads the team in rebounds at 9.1 per game.

The Saints jumped out to an early 8-2 lead behind Junior forward Javion Ogunyemi’s 6 points and 3 rebounds. The Saints led 30-24 coming out of a TV timeout but were outscored 8-2 in the last 3:57 to lead 34-32 at halftime.
The Bonnies began the 2nd half with a three-guard attack and took a 35-34 lead on a 3 pointer by Marcus Posley. The teams exchanged leads most of the second half and with 8:53 left junior forward Denzel Gregg hit a 3 pointer to tie the game at 56.

The Bonnies increased their lead to 60-56 after a steal and dunk by Jaylen Adams with 8:00 remaining. The Bonnies held the lead at 68-66, before Marquis Wright hit a baseline jumper off an offensive rebound to tie the game with 1:09 remaining. Posley was called for an offensive foul on the Bonnies’ next possession and Junior forward Brett Bisping hit a layup to put the Saints up 70-68 with 34:8 remaining. After a Bonnies’ miss, Junior forward Lavon Long was fouled in transition and made 1 of 2 free throws to increase the lead to 71-68.

Adams made 2 free throws to reduce the deficit to 1 at 71-70. Senior guard Ryan Oliver missed 2 free throws for the Saints with 17:1 remaining. After a turnover by Adams on the Bonnies’ next possession at 10:1, Wright converted 2 free throws to give the Saints a 73-70 lead. The Bonnies’ were out of timeouts, Dion Wright’s three pointer was off the mark and the Saints held on for a 73-70 victory.

Siena was led by Marquis Wright with 20 points and 10 assists. Wright was guilty of 9 turnovers but made 4 of 6 3 pointers. Javion Ogunyemi provided an inside presence with 15 points, 10 rebounds including 8 on the offensive end and 3 blocks. Bisping, Long and Clareth also contributed 11 points each as the Saints improved to 8-4, and the Bonnies fell to 7-3.

St. Bonaventure was led by Marcus Posley and Jaylen Adams with 18 points each. Dion Wright contributed 14 points and 6 rebounds while Denzel Gregg added 12 points off the bench.

During the postgame press conference, Patsos acknowledged the layoff contributed to the Saints total of 25 turnovers. When asked about fouling up 3 with 8 seconds remaining, Patsos acknowledged that his preference is to foul in this situation by was unable to because Ogunyemi was on the bench due to leg cramps. Patsos stated that Ogunyemi would have made the determination of when to foul had he been on the court.

It was a close contest, with neither team able to pull away until the end. The Saints will have to take better care of the ball in future contests.

By Vernon McKenzie

Graduate of New Institute Of Technology with a BA in Communications with a focus on Television Radio. Owner and Executive Producer of PureSportsNY

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