Siena men’s basketball back at home to face St. Bonaventure for Franciscan Cup

Siena’s head coach Carmen Maciariello during the MAAC basketball game against Iona at MVP Arena in Albany on Friday, February 11, 2022.

Siena’s head coach Carmen Maciariello during the MAAC basketball game against Iona at MVP Arena in Albany on Friday, February 11, 2022.

LOUDONVILLE — Siena men’s basketball has already hoisted one cup this season. Monday night, they’ll try to reclaim another.

A little more than a month after capturing the Albany Cup against UAlbany in that rivalry’s return from a five-year hiatus, the Saints will face their other biggest non-conference rival, St. Bonaventure, for the Br. Ed Coughlin Franciscan Cup at 7 p.m. at MVP Arena in Albany.

“You have a chance to pick up something tangible,” Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said Thursday.

It’s also a chance for the Saints (5-5 overall) to eliminate the bitter taste of the last time the Franciscan Cup was at stake.

That was the 2021-22 season opener for the Saints, when a Bonnies team that would go on to a 23-10 record and a trip to the NIT semifinals rolled to a 75-47 victory in Olean.

It was a close game at halftime, with St. Bonaventure up 36-32, but Siena fell victim to a 39-15 drubbing in the second half.

“It was our first game last year, out there in Olean, and we didn’t play well,” Maciariello said. “I think we got off to a good start, and then they made some adjustments and we weren’t at full strength.”

Siena sophomore point guard Javian McCollum wasn’t there for that game, missing out due to a preseason concussion that got his freshman campaign off to a late start, but he’s heard enough from his teammates who were there to want to be part of a little revenge.

“I wasn’t there last year, because of the concussion, but my teammates were saying it felt pretty bad,” McCollum said. “So, I can’t wait to get out there and take a win.”

That revenge will have to be taken against the name on the front of the St. Bonaventure jerseys, rather than the names on the back.

The Bonnies (6-5 overall) have undergone a complete overhaul this season, with not one of the 10 players who took the court for coach Mark Schmidt’s squad in last year’s Franciscan Cup still on the roster for this season.

The current St. Bonaventure roster features seven freshmen and not a single senior, though the Bonnies’ leading scorer is a familiar face for Siena. Guard Daryl Banks III transferred from MAAC rival Saint Peter’s to St. Bonaventure this past offseason, and is averaging 16.5 points in 39 minutes per game this year.

Of course, the Bonnies aren’t the only team that’s plenty different from the last time the Franciscan Cup was up for grabs.

Of Siena’s five starters in last season’s matchup, only center Jackson Stormo is still with the team, while Jayce Johnson and Michael Baer are the only other current Saints who appeared in that game.

“That was well before we knew who we were,” said Johnson, whose 10 points off the bench tied for the team lead in last year’s contest. “Looking at that, and seeing them once again, I think we’re a totally different team. I’m not thinking about [last year] all that much.”

For a Siena team that’s stuck at .500 10 games into the season, despite some high-profile wins against Florida State of the ACC and Seton Hall of the Big East, Monday’s game — and Thursday’s road matinee against American — represent a chance to build momentum before the schedule turns exclusively to MAAC games on Dec. 30 at Quinnipiac.

“We’ve left some opportunities on the table,” McCollum said. “Losing, you’ve always got that bad taste in your mouth just from losing. I don’t think anyone likes to lose. We’re just trying to come out and get better every day, because that’s what it’s going to take to be a great team.”

Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, Sports

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