Siena Claims Franciscan Cup

Maria Hayes Around the Province

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — Before the Siena Saints took the court against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies, Siena coach Jimmy Patsos gathered his team in for a last-minute pep talk.

“Win this for Fr. Kevin,” he told his players. “Don’t do this for me. He signs your scholarships. You have to get that cup for this guy one time and the rest will work itself out.”

The team was playing for the Franciscan Cup, a trophy designed by Siena College president Kevin Mullen, OFM, ‘75, in 2010. Ironically, he has never been able to keep it on his campus — the Bonnies have defeated Siena since the game’s creation.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the cup’s fate was looking uncertain with the score tied 70-70 and 30 seconds left in the game. Patsos assumed they would go into overtime, according to The Troy Record, a local newspaper.

Then the ball landed in the hands of Siena freshman Marquis Wright. And in one wild, contested layup with 0.2 seconds left on the clock, the Saints clinched their first win over the Bonnies, 72-70. The Times Union Center exploded as Saints fans celebrated Pastos’s first win for the school since becoming head coach in April. The Saints (1-3) had also beaten the Bonnies (3-1) for the first time since the 1998-99 basketball season.

“It was a fun game to watch,” said Kevin. “Both teams are young, so they made a few mistakes, but overall it was a well-coached and well-executed game. I am happy that Siena pulled it out in the end, but in truth, the game could have gone either way.”

Daniel Dwyer, OFM, Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, Michael Joyce, OFM, Linh Hoang, OFM, and Kenneth Paulli, OFM, were also present to witness the Saints’ victory.

“The Franciscan Cup series with Bona’s is not only fun competition, but it is another visible reminder of both schools’ connection via Holy Name Province and our shared Franciscan heritage,” said Gregory, who serves as college chaplain. “Being a Bona alum as well as a former faculty member in the St. Bonaventure School of Business, I enjoy the Franciscan Cup game, because I have a close connection to both schools. Nevertheless, the Franciscan Cup game is the only time I do not root for Bona’s. I was happy to see our Siena team win the Franciscan Cup.”

Greg praised Patsos, who worked as head coach of former MAAC conference rival Loyola University before he came to Siena.

“Jimmy, as he likes to be called, is a teacher in the truest sense,” he said. “He’s full of positive energy and enthusiasm. I’ve witnessed firsthand how he ‘educates’ the young men on his team not just about basketball, but about life as well, as evidenced by his educational side-trips when the team is on the road. And, Jimmy reminds the guys on the team to be thankful.”

The Franciscan Cup was initiated by Kevin and Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, president of St. Bonaventure, in 2010 to create a friendly rivalry between the Province-sponsored schools. The game is a cross-conference event: St. Bonaventure is a member of the A-10 and Siena is a member of the MAAC. At the time of publication, the Bonnies had a 6-2 record and the Saints, 2-7.

Kevin expressed his hope that the series will continue in the future.

“I hope that we can renew the contract so that our teams can continue to compete,” he said. “I would like to see if we can also establish a game between our women’s teams. A double-header would be fun. Of course, we would need another cup!”

 Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.