Post Game: Siena 73 St. Bonaventure 70
The Result: The Siena Saints took down the St. Bonaventure Bonnies by a score of 73-70 Tuesday night at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY. In what could be described as a sloppy game all-around, the game did not lack a certain amount of drama down the stretch for yet another season.
The first half felt like Siena was in complete control throughout. Even though the score at the half was 34-32, 13 turnovers kept St. Bonaventure in the game. Posley and Adams kept the Bonnies afloat by shooting 4 of 7 from behind the arc. Dion Wright gutted out 8 points in the first half while being shadowed in the paint by Javion Ogunyemi, who was Siena’s go to player despite the high number of turnovers in the first period.
The second half began with both teams exchanging baskets and good all-around play before the turnover barrage began again. St. Bonaventure, despite all of their struggles in the first half, got fast break points off of the 1-3-1 press and also saw glimpses of why Jay Adams and Nelson Kaputo have Bonnies’ fans giddy for the future. In what would have been the key turning point had the Bonnies won, on two straight possessions, Siena turned the ball over after good defensive steals in the front court. Those turnovers subsequently led to easy fast break buckets by the aforementioned Kaputo and Adams. The Bonnies extended their lead to four and fans could sense that the Brown and White would finally pull away from the home Saints. The chance to go up six came when Denzel Gregg went up and grabbed an offensive rebound and before returning to the ground, inexplicably threw the ball over the glass for another Bonnies turnover, or missed shot, depending how you scored it. Siena came down the court and cut the lead to two on a Bisping lay-in and the fight to the finish was on. Siena got a double-double from Marquis Wright who hit shot after shot to give Siena a lead with under a minute to play.
The game came down to the final seconds but one key play that may be overlooked was the set piece drawn up by Mark Schmidt with 34.9 seconds to play. Coming out of the time out, Jay Adams drove to the left of the key and threw a lazy pass across the court in hopes of finding a curling Bonnie shooter. The pass was deflected instead and the resulting fast break led to Marcus Posley tracking down the ball and committing his 5th foul. While Adams has shown some inconsistency in his late game decisions, and those can certainly be debated again after tonight, losing Posley in a one possession game is something the Bonnies could ill afford knowing his knack for scoring huge buckets at the end of regulation.
The decision by Adams on the set piece and another on a drive with under :15 put the Bonnies behind the 8-ball. Even though Siena couldn’t seal the game away until the final horn sounded, they did enough to stave off the Bonnies and a last second Dion Wright three pointer which hit back iron. When the ball bounced high, the game was finally wrapped up and so was another Franciscan Cup for the Siena Saints.
The Difference (Team): Despite 25 Siena turnovers - yes, 25 turnovers - the Bonnies did not do enough to capitalize (only 22 points off turnovers) on all of the Siena mistakes as evidenced by the Bonnies committing 20 of their own. As mentioned before, and this could sum up Denzel Gregg in a nutshell, after starting 5-5 from the floor in the second half, including a three pointer from the wing, Gregg rose above a Siena defender and ripped the ball down from the highest point. Rather than come down, reset, pump fake, pass, call a time out, or simply dribble, Gregg threw the ball over the glass before landing on his feet for one of his 4 turnovers on the game. This play exemplified what the Bonnies did when they were given chances to take the game by the reigns and get another notch in the W column. The turnover by Gregg wasn’t why they lost, but the lead went right back down to two on the ensuing Siena possession. The inability to capitalize on Siena mistakes was a team problem that led to their downfall. Additionally, giving Siena almost as many chances with our own 20 turnovers certainly was a huge factor.
The Difference (Player):
This is one of those games where the Blog almost had to have two game stories. Denzel Gregg played his typical extreme up and down game that electrified the Bonnies bench after a throw down from a Nelson Kaputo lead pass. He also had those moments that left you wondering, “WHY?” But when it comes to being a difference maker in the game, it was Marquis Wright and his 20 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. Despite a game high 9 turnovers, Wright hit a crucial 3 pointer with 2:47 to play in the game to tie the game at 66. Then with 1:23 left, Wright knocked down a 16 footer from the baseline with a man in his face to tie the game again at 68; a really tough shot. The Saints finished on a 5 to 3 run to seal the game. It wasn’t that simple as mentioned above with the Adam’s turnover and Posley’s foul out, but Wright was just good enough to get the Saints a win.
Under the Radar:
Javion Ogunyemi who, in addition to his 15 points and 10 rebounds, made life miserable for Dion Wright in the paint. Wright, who finished the game with 14/6, had a number of shots altered due to some strong defense in the paint. Credit goes to both players for the grind it out type of game they both played.
Turnovers immediately jump out, but the -11 on the glass cost the Bonnies in the first half and perhaps cost them the game. Jordan Tyson does not look like he is in top shape and that is to be expected, but SBU will count on him for rebounding when he’s out there. This loss isn’t on Tyson by any means, but for him to be effective and worth playing for Schmidt, he needs to grind out rebounds and add a defensive presence to offset the bigs that are giving Dion Wright trouble in the paint. Tonight that just didn’t happen be it from Tyson or Woods.
What’s Next: St. Bonaventure has a seven day break for the holidays before welcoming Little 3 foe Niagara to the Reilly Center on December 30th.