Magical Season Ends: Bonnies Fall to Wagner
By: Cody Didas, BonaBlog Contributor
Well, we all had one question in mind coming to this game against the Wagner Seahawks. Would the Bonnies be still in mourning from their complete NCAA snub on Sunday evening, or would they be so fired up that they would smoke Wagner out of the building in the first 5 minutes?
I would say the former was much more the case than the latter as the 8th seeded Wagner Seahawks built a 17 point first half lead and would hang to to win 79-75 to end the Bonnies dream season.
The loss capped a horrific 72ish hour period from the Bonnies.
Wagner built a 14 point halftime lead and were able to stem the tide throughout the second half. The Bonnies could only ever cut the lead to 2, and will have to settle for a dream season ending in the First Round of the NIT.
First, I’ll start this off by saying that I am incredibly proud of this team. We all know that this season will be a tough one to replicate and that 14-4 record in the A10 does not happen every day; hell it’s never happened before.
I am proud to be a Bonnie, proud to have been able to watch Marcus Posley play for two seasons, and Dion Wright develop over his time here. I am sure some day I will look back on my senior year and be extremely thankful that it happened, and that a banner will hang from the rafters with my graduating year on it. If you want some perspective on how I feel in life and how almost every senior in college around the country does, go listen to the end of the presser and hear Posley talk.
HOWEVER, back to basketball, that was a rough way to end a storybook season. I mean if that happens Saturday to Creighton, I think everyone applauds and moves on. But honestly, if you heard Coach Bashir Mason talk about this game…it was just straight house money for them. I think you could see that clearly, playing loose, free, with nothing to lose. It was the first postseason win in Wagner school history…walking in here as an #8 seed is like pulling an Ocean’s Eleven and putting all the house’s money on black. That is just an incredibly hard way to go out, and you could hear it in Jay’s voice. We all knew Wagner would be coming into the RC thrilled and fired up to be in the NIT. The question was: how would our guys feel?
It was just a perfect storm for Bonas to lose tonight. The Seahawks came out firing. Shooting well, offensive rebounding in big moments and the Bonnies’ guards being ice cold. It may be a little surprising that the Bonnies were even able to make a comeback in the second half. Some of our shots started falling, but much like Dayton at home, it is insane to me to drop 26 in the first half on Wagner and then be able to just light it up for 49 in the second. Give lots of credit to Jay Adams who carried the team late and fueled the near-comeback.
I think you have to assume that the team’s collective minds’ were not in this game tonight; Posley said as much in the preser. I would like to commend Taqqee’s performance tonight. I know that he is a player we have talked about a lot throughout the season, but he was truly going for every single ball tonight. I have LOVED his progression throughout the year, and am excited to see what he brings to the table next year. He was our second leading rebounder tonight. He will contribute next season for sure in a larger capacity.
One change that I would have liked to see: more of Woods and Tyson in the second half. These guys played a grand total of 13 minutes tonight. That forces us to become a true 6-man rotation. With some of the shape our guys are in? I don’t think that was somewhere we needed to go. I am not saying either makes us all of a sudden a great team, but they at least contest the lay-ups at the rim and I’m thinking could have thrown a box-out here and there. Coach Mason noted that he saw Posley breathing heavily with about 3 minutes to play, he told his guy that whoever was going to be the tougher player was going to win at that point. For really the first time ever, Posley adds in the presser that he was definitely, very hurt. At the same time, he knew we needed to score a hell of a lot of points in the second half and once again tried to carry the load.
One more note: I know we were behind, but we took 62 shots tonight…31 of them were from distance. 2-15 in the first half. I really just do not think that was the best strategy for this team in any game this season. And if you want to look back at our preview, is actually one of Wagner’s strengths. This team was at its best with Marcus and Jay slicing through the lane. We came back off of and-1’s and kick-outs for 3. With how bad some of the stretches were in this game for the Bonnies, it is crazy how in it they were at the end.
I have to commend the community, students, and alumni for their support in this game. The RC has NEVER been as loud as it was tonight. It was truly deafening, in that aspect you have to tip your hat to Wagner. I am thinking they do not deal with that type of atmosphere to often in the NEC. At points, it seemed as if the crowd was literally willing on the Bonnies to win. There are snapshots in time that I hope I can never forget from this game. I can only wish that I had one more year here as a student, but am happy with how the ride went. You can tell how much Posley fell in love with this place in 2 years, it pains him to have to say good bye. I feel exactly the same way…
What’s Next: The offseason, sadly. 2015-2016 will go down as the best season in well 4 years for the Bonnies (and maybe more) and one to remember. We will have to say good bye to Dion Wright and Marcus Posley. And soon welcome David Andoh, Matt Mobley, and Courtney Stockard next season. I have heard amazing things of Mobley, and Stockard was the projected #3 to start the season, so it is fair to expect good things from him. At worst, barring multiple injuries, we will be a much deeper team to begin next season. I am curious to see what the non-conference schedule looks like. Of course we will have the mainstays (Niagara/Canisius/UB/Siena), but any chance you can get to travel to a middling major, you have to take.