0 Comments Published on 11.19.2015 by John Brennan
|"When I shoot game-tying threes, it feels like the hoop is THIS BIG!"|
These two upstate schools first played each other in 1923 and are separated by just a three-hour drive. But in spite of that, they're really only "rivals" because Jim Boeheim said so. From 1977 to 1987, Syracuse and St. Bonaventure played annually, sometimes more than once. They've just played occasionally since then, with the most recent tilt in 2009. Syracuse owned a 23-3 head to head record going into Tuesday's game, and the Bonnies had never won in the Carrier Dome. So, sham rivalry. BUT, this is a game that needs to be back on the schedule every year. More on that later. Bonas jumped out to a quick start, led 35-29 at the half, and carried a lead until a Tyler Lydon 3-pointer tied the game at 54 with 9:03 to go. From there, Syracuse took over and won 79-66.
- The leader of the SU offense once again was Michael Gbinije, with 23 points on 8-14 from the floor, 3-7 from three, and 4-6 from the line. Mike also had six assists and four steals for a really solid game.
- Also in double digits were Trevor Cooney (18, 4-12, 2-8, 3-11), Malachi Richardson (15, 5-11, 2-7, 3-5) and Tyler Lydon (13, 3-5, 2-2, 5-5).
- Lydon was nothing but consistent in this one with a very productive 31 minutes. He may be a freshman, but he ain't playing like one through two official games.
- Bonas really hit the boards, with 43 rebounds -- and 24 off the offensive glass. That translated to 29 second chance points.
- The Bonnies got good production from their players, particularly Jaylen Adams with 16 points and Dion Wright with 13. As a team, Bonaventure 36.4% from the floor, to 46.2% for Syracuse. I'd put the Bonas percentage lower on account of all the missed shots but offensive rebounds & put-backs they had. There were a few possessions with 3 or 4 offensive rebounds. Keeping the ball away from Syracuse was a good strategy for a long time.
This was a great game. Bonaventure came out wanting to win, while Syracuse seemed to come out expecting to win. And that showed for a large part of the game. Credit to the Orange for never letting it get too far out of hand, but I swear there were points where I openly wondered if Syracuse could come back. Then when they did, it seemed like they couldn't get through that 5-point deficit and Bonas would widen the gap again. Once Syracuse was able to bust through that, tie the game, and then take the lead, you could tell that the pendulum had swung to Syracuse's side and it just wasn't going to swing back before the game was over.
I've been watching a lot of Bonaventure basketball in recent years, because my brother Andy went there for his bachelor's degree and his MBA. I've seen them do some great things in the A-10, I've seen them make the NCAA Tournament, and I saw one hell of a game at the Reilly Center last year against VCU where Bonas won at the buzzer. They're a fun team with some great talent, and despite not being a power school in a power conference, they can still play. I would consider them a mid-major on the rise. Because of this, and because of how exciting Tuesday's game was, I think Syracuse needs to do what it can to keep this game on the schedule every year. Maybe now they're a sham rival, but why not make them a real rival? They've played Syracuse tough the last few meetings, and even if they never quite get to the point of beating the Orange, they make for better games than Colgate or Cornell have been recently. That would be a good retirement gift for Boeheim, the establishment of an annual game. We could play for some weird made up trophy or something, I don't know.
Or maybe I just want to be able to rub it in my brother's face every year.