Upon Further Review: Bonnies missing Gathers
Siena threw the first jab in the Franciscan Cup battle when the college officially named a St. Bonaventure man as its president early Wednesday. The Saints landed the knockout punch hours later, marching into the Reilly Center and smashing the Bonnies, 73-70.
St. Bonaventure not only lost the game, it also lost one of its own to Siena – 1970 graduate Brother Edward Coughlin, who was also the former Vice President for Franciscan Mission at the university.
Who knows who Br. Ed was rooting for on Wednesday? All that matters is that the God – ahem, the basketball gods – were on Siena’s side.
Though a sin, losing to Siena doesn’t condemn the Bonnies to a season of hell. It may put a damper on this season’s expectations but, let’s remember, the Bonnies have been known for non-conference clunkers under Mark Schmidt.
It’s not probably even fair to qualify this one as a clunker. Siena is a good team. It may be the best team in the MAAC. The Saints return all of the key pieces from a 20-win team that also beat the Bonnies last year in Albany.
So, relax, the sky isn’t falling just yet.
Of course, it would help if the Bonnies had their two senior leaders. Youssou Ndoye made his season debut last night, but he may as well have sat out another game. The Bonnies may have been better off with Lounceny Kaba on the floor.
Jordan Gathers, meanwhile, is still recovering from hip surgery.
The Bonnies guards didn’t make a concerted effort to feed Ndoye the ball. Ndoye didn’t do enough to find openings and assert himself. The Bonnies didn’t have a game plan for attacking Siena’s zone. The result was an outcome that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate.
Given their guard depth, I didn’t think the Bonnies would miss Gathers much. Now I’m starting to believe that he may be the most important piece to the Bonnies puzzle.
Gathers is by no means a superstar in the Atlantic 10. But he is a leader, and he is steady and he is experienced and he plays with ferocity, especially on the defensive end. He can also play both guard positions.
Marcus Posley, Andell Cumberbatch and Jaylen Adams fired up a lot of ill-advised shots last night. The Bonnies could have used a steadying force in the backcourt. They could have used a veteran like Gathers to settle the team.
SBU has been mum about when Gathers might return. It might be next week. It might be at the start of conference play.
The sooner he returns the better. The Adamses are stars in the making, but they’re not ready for the big-time just yet. They’re not ready to make the plays to beat good teams. We saw that last night.
The Bonnies face another former Bonaventure man on Saturday when Jim Baron and rival Canisius visits the Reilly Center.
No, the sky isn’t falling yet, but it will be if the Golden Griffins fly out of Olean with a victory.