Takeaways: Siena Loss
The Bonnies found a way to lose to Siena for a third straight season by the thinnest of margins on Tuesday night despite being given every chance to win the game. Let’s dive into some takeaways from another gut-wrenching loss to the Saints who now have won the last three Franciscan Cups; all in dramatic fashion.
First, we have to start at the end. The Bonnies had possession after possession late in the game with chances to take or extend the lead and came away not with missed shots, but with turnover after turnover; empty possessions. SBU point guard Jay Adams had three turnovers inside the final two minutes. SBU gave away possessions in the game’s most crucial moments and it cost them. After a Siena missed free throw, and with the Bonnies down one with 15 seconds left, Adams drove immediately to the rim and traveled, turning it over for the second time in a matter of seconds. This is now the second time this season Adams has displayed incredibly poor judgment in late, close-game situations with the rock in his hand (he had one last year). Without Posley on the floor (fouled out), SBU did not have their “finisher” to turn to and it cost them. At this point in time Adams’ decision making ability late in games has to be a concern. He seems to want to be the hero more than anything else, and that’s good. What isn’t good is taking a shot with 15 seconds left, down one, leaving time on the clock for the other team to get another possession (not to mention failing to look to anyone else to score). I hate to be so hard on the sophomore who had a fine game otherwise (his five turnovers to one assist was not pretty), but his play in the last two minutes was very poor. I hope the coaching staff uses this as a teachable moment, but it cannot happen again this season; especially not from your point guard.
Second, we have the idea that Siena could turn the rock over 25 times and still win the game. I haven’t done the stat checking yet, but I would guess if you turn it over 25+ times you lose over 97% of those games. SBU had every, and I mean every chance, to turn those empty possessions into points on the other end but couldn’t do it (were even in points off turnovers at 22). When Siena gave the Bonnies a chance to put up points, too often SBU would give it right back…as the Brown and White had an almost-equally-awful 20 giveaways. Turnovers have long been a weakness of Schmidt’s teams and tonight will do nothing to quiet those comments from the fans. Posley and Adams combined to turn it over nine times.
Third, you think about a Siena team, out of the MAAC, who out-rebounded the Bonnies 38-27. Siena played forwards at 6-8 (Bisping, Ogunyemi) and seemed to dominate on the interior for periods of the contest. Their 17 offense rebounds, in addition to the Bonnies 20 turnovers, gave Siena 37 “extra” possessions. In hoops, possessions are points and the Bonnies “gave” the Saints a chance for 111 points (as Mark Schmidt would point out in practice). You just cannot do that. The Bonnies played a game last night of “who wants to win less” with Siena and ultimately lost (or won, depending how you want to look at it). They’ve got to be better on the glass and more careful with the ball in league play. I can’t imagine the outcome of a game vs. say even St. Joe’s where SBU has 20 turnovers and is -11 on the boards.
Fourth, I have to question Mark Schmidt’s lineup at the end of the game where he had Taqqee on the floor and Kaputo on the bench. There’s no doubt in my mind that the team is strongest with Kaputo on the floor, and given SBU’s struggles in keeping the ball, it would seem his skill-set fit for the final moments. Still, for a period Taqqee was on the floor (he did hit a jumper from the baseline and had zero turnovers) but I want the freshman out there. No, his shot wasn’t falling (1-7) but he had six assists against two turnovers. No one else on the team had more than two assists (11 total against those 20 turnovers). I’m sure Schmidt has his logic for putting Idris out there (offensive rebounding/defense?) but to me, Kaputo had to be out there to help the struggling offense in terms of ball-handling and shooting.
Finally, I have to mention Denzel Gregg who again came off the bench to spark the team (12 points, 5-8 shooting) in the second half, but who also showed you why he’s so inconsistent even within a game. Gregg did not score in the opening frame before roaring off the bench to lead the Bonnies offensively after the half. But the junior also had four turnovers and four fouls. He’s averaging 3.6 fouls a game, a lot for guy who doesn’t start. For SBU to meet or exceed expectations this season, Gregg needs to become a more consistent player inside of the game. With Posley, Adams and Wright combining to average 60.5 of the Bonnies 74 points per game (or 81%) the club drastically needs another reliable scorer. Gregg can be that player. With Kaputo being just a freshman, and the same with Woods and Tyson, Gregg has to rise to the occasion…for better or worse.