ALBANY, N.Y. — The score may tell the story of the game, but the name tells the story of the event.
Last month’s basketball game between St. Bonaventure University and Siena College — which SBU won by six points — was the second in the Franciscan Cup series, a competition launched last year to showcase the relationship between the two Province-sponsored colleges. It attracts spectators from not only the campuses of the two schools — on the western and eastern sides of New York — but fans from all parts of the state.
A crowd of more than 6,000 students, alumni and friars gathered Nov. 21 in the Times Union Center to watch the game, which, despite an early lead by Siena, ended with a score of 64-58 in favor of SBU.
It was an exciting game, said Gregory Jakubowitz, OFM, a Bonaventure alumnus who has served as college chaplain at Siena’s Loudonville campus since 2009.
“I enjoy the friendly rivalry in men’s basketball between these schools who share a common Franciscan mission and heritage,” he said. “Both Bona’s coach, Mark Schmidt, and Siena’s coach, Mitch Buonaguro — who are both Boston College alums — are running programs that positively reflect our Franciscan values. The young men these coaches recruit work hard in the classroom and on the hardwood, are humble and grateful and, from my encounters with both teams, are gentlemen.”
Along with Greg, eight other Siena-based friars were at the game; several were photographed in their well-recognized habits. They included Siena’s president, Kevin Mullen, OFM, Brian Belanger, OFM, Julian Davies, OFM, Mathias Doyle, OFM, Daniel Dwyer, OFM, Dennis Tamburello, OFM, and Edgardo Zea, OFM, as well as Lawrence Ford, OFM, of New York City, who formerly served at Siena.
“I am appreciative to Kevin Mullen and SBU president Sr. Margaret Carney for instituting this contest — and alums at both schools have shared with me the same sentiments,” Greg said. “I hope the competition continues well beyond the remaining two years that are contracted.”
Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, Dr. Michael Fischer, university provost, and Steve Watson, director of athletics, represented the SBU administration.
Also at the game was Siena fan Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard. “Not only is he regularly at Siena games, he is also an affiliate of Holy Name Province,” Greg noted.
“Being connected to both schools and being a supporter of both schools’ athletic programs, I was glad to be at the game again this year,” Greg said. “Though my heart remains at Bona’s, I was rooting for the Siena Saints since I am the team’s chaplain. Although Siena didn’t win this year, we’ll get that trophy cup to Loudonville next year. The student-athletes on both teams played to win, making it a fun game to watch.”
St. Bonaventure now leads the current series, which began last year, 2-0. St Bonaventure leads 27-6 in the all-time series that dates from the 1939 to 1940 season. The first Franciscan Cup game was played Dec. 28, 2010, at SBU.
The Franciscan Cup is a cross-conference event. St. Bonaventure is a member of the A-10 and Siena is a member of the MAAC.
The two schools play for a trophy designed by Kevin Mullen.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.