Bonnies Can’t Finish ‘Cats, Now Wait on NCAA Fate
After getting back into our Air BnB apartment last night around 1 AM Vinny and I sat exhausted and disappointed on a couple of futons and commiserated about the Bonnies four point overtime loss to Davidson at the Barclays Center. Between walking out of the building and finally calling it a night we had discussed how the loss felt like it let all the wind out of the team’s sails, and how the next day and a half would be brutally tense for the team and fans.
Our only saving grace was we got home in 4 minutes, many fans traveled six hours to cheer on their team and man were they awesome.
The Bonnies seemed primed this year, more than ever before, to make a play for the Atlantic 10 Tournament Title. Armed with their explosive backcourt and a team that seemingly could do no wrong in the season’s last month or so, the Brown and White were a sexy pick to win it all.
A poll from A10talk.com proved that a vast majority of league fans thought the Bonnies would win it all. Add in an absolutely enormous Bonaventure fanbase at the game (that made it feel like an RC game) and it seemed Mark Schmidt’s club had all their ducks in a row. This was an odd position to be as the Bonnies are rarely the hunted and have thrived on being the underdog ever since Schmidt’s arrival.
For a majority of the game SBU seemed to again have things under control. They were playing with a lead, being driven by the fans and getting a hell-of-a-game from Marcus Posley.
But after leading by double digits for a good deal of the second half the Bonnies stalled on both sides of the ball. Davidson would score on a ridiculous 17 of their last 19 possessions. When SBU needed a bucket they seemed to only be able to turn to Marcus Posley and Dion Wright who worked alone, in isolation.
The Bonaventure offense was a shell of itself late in the game as Jay Adams made just 1 of 10 shots and fouled out. Schmidt said the sophomore’s back has been bothering him and after watching this game you’d have to believe him. Without their usual third scorer the Bonnies relied on Posley (and his one leg) and Wright to score every big bucket for them down the stretch. It wasn’t enough.
Add in some very suspect foul calls, specifically on Denzel Gregg who fouled out and the Bonnies had a rare late game meltdown. Before it was complete Wright could commit a huge foul on Peyton Aldridge shooting a three pointer with ten seconds left (up 3), Posley would miss a potential game winner and Jay Adams and Idris Taqqee would miss critical free throws.
It was a game the Bonnies have not played, or lost this year.
They’d never lost when leading with five minutes to play, but they’ve never executed so poorly before late in games.
At least not during their current winning streak.
They did not get key stops when they needed them. They didn’t score when the moment was biggest. They missed free throws and stalled in big moments with the ball.
As much as SBU’s offense seemed to stall (with Nelson Kaputo and Jordan Tyson getting major minutes late and in all of OT) the defense was the bigger concern. Bonas was burned late by Brian Sullivan who canned huge three pointers in overtime, and hurt all game by Jordan Barham who did not play in our first meeting. While SBU did enough to hold Jack Gibbs to a poor shooting night, he scored whenever Davidson needed him to most and SBU’s inability to grab some key defensive rebounds really hurt them.
When SBU needed one stop Davidson would score.
I thought the fouling out of Gregg was a massive blow to the Bonnies chances. Gregg is minute for minute SBU’s best rebounder and in a game this close he would have been huge late and in OT. Having to play Tyson in his place was a massive downgrade on both ends, no disrespect to Jordan. The Bonnies had to try to win it with the 6th Man of the Year and 1st team point guard on the pine.
In the end it was a 45 minute game where two gritty seniors tried to carry their team to a victory. Posley and Wright played their asses off the entire night. Wright came out early playing with his head on fire, looking personally offended to have not made an all-league team. His 32 points and 15 rebound effort will go down as an all-time effort in this tournament for us.
Posley hit big shot after big shot and did it playing as beat up as any player still going. I think I speak for all Bonnies fans when I say that following Aldridge’s free throws we thought Posley would win it for us once again. Posley’s two year career in Brown and White should be remembered as impressive as any. Not to look to next year already but it’s scary to think about this team without their go to scorer who has ice running through his veins.
But, this time it was not to be. After winning so many close games the Bonnies were on the other side.
Now, we hope they aren’t on the other side of the NCAA bubble.
Here’s an update as of 2 PM on Saturday Afternoon:
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi still thinks the Bonnies are in as he stated in this interview just a few hours ago.
Bracket Matrix, which combines dozens and dozens of expert brackets thinks the Bonnies are still in as an 11 seed. They were a 10 last night before the loss.
CBS’s Jerry Palm thinks SBU is a nine seed and does not see them as a last four in.
So now we wait. The next 28 hours are going to be tense but the work is done. As Mark Schmidt said last night his team has played well, produced a good resume and now it’s time to lay it on the table. While the loss last night hurts and stings on a number of levels (you really felt like this team could win it all) it’s done with.
Now we say a prayer and hope our name is called tomorrow to be included in the field of 68.