By Joe Ceraulo: A10-Talk staffer
The Franciscan Cup is back where it belongs.
After falling to the Siena Saints for three consecutive seasons, the Bonnies took a 4-3 Franciscan Cup series lead with an 81-74 win, Wednesday night.
Senior forward Denzel Gregg got things started with an emphatic dunk to put the Bonnies ahead 2-0. He finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. One of those blocks electrified the Reilly Center sending back Siena’s senior big man Javion Ogunyemi at the 13 minute mark of the first half.
The Bonnies took a 39-34 lead into the half after a lackluster 20 minutes from both sides. This set up one of the more entertaining finishes we’ve seen this season.
Brett Bisping, a senior forward for Siena, brought them back in the game scoring 4 points in just two seconds after stealing an inbound pass early in the second half.
St. Bonaventure junior guard Idris Taqqee recorded a steal with 12:54 to go in the game, then quickly dished it to junior Matt Mobley who finished with an extraordinary dunk. This gave the Bonnies their first double-digit lead of the evening.
The game for the Bonnies momentarily went downhill when Denzel Gregg went down after committing a foul, clutching his right knee around the seven minute mark.
A Brett Bisping layup made it a one point game as Siena trailed 74-73 with a minute remaining. However, a converted and-one layup by Jaylen Adams put the Bonnies up by four, sealing the game.
After the game, Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos commented on the series between the two teams.
“It’s a first class series,” said Patsos. “There’s first class people involved.”
Patsos also referenced St. Bonaventure’s snub from the NCAA Tournament last year.
“No team deserved to make it more than St. Bonaventure.”
St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt commented on beating the Saints for the first time since 2012.
“Going in, not one of our guys in that locker room had beaten Siena,” said Schmidt. “That was a motivating factor for them. We dealt with some adversity, but we made the plays, and anytime you make those plays it gives you confidence.”
With the win, the Bonnies now lead the all-time series with Siena 29-10.
With a three-game win streak, the Bonnies will try to make it four straight when they take on the Buffalo Bulls, Saturday at 4PM in the Reilly Center.