LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — The Franciscan Cup will remain at Siena College for the third consecutive year after the Saints defeated the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in a 73-70 victory at the Times Union Center in Albany on Dec. 22.
Siena is now tied with Bonaventure — with three wins each — for total victories since the basketball game’s inception in 2010. The annual contest was the idea of Kevin Mullen, OFM, while he was president of Siena College. He was presented with the cup at the beginning of the game and returned it to Siena at the end.
Kevin, provincial minister since June 2014, revived a match-up that had been regular in the 1950s and 60s until, for an unknown reason, the schools ceased holding an annual contest.
“I wanted to revive the series because I believed and still do [believe] that it is good for both programs and gives each team an incentive to win,” Kevin said. “[It] also allows the friars to promote our common mission in both schools.”
Siena led 6-0 for the first two minutes, leaving Bonaventure to keep the score tighter toward the end of the first half, according to the GoBonnies.com post-game report. At halftime, Siena led 34-32, marking the first time the Bonnies have trailed at intermission in the 2015-16 season. With 45 total turnovers, it was two free throws from Siena’s Marquis Wright, whose layup clinched the Saint’s first victory in 2013, that locked in a win despite an attempted three pointer from Bonaventure’s Dion Wright.
“The entire game was fun,” Kevin said. “Siena had the majority of fans as it was a home game, but the Bonnies were well represented by a very vocal group of supporters. The last three minutes of the game were the best and either team could have won. This time, Siena was fortunate to realize a victory.”
Mark Reamer, OFM, guardian of the St. Bernardine of Siena Friary, held a pre-game social for the 20 friars attending the game and several laypeople from St. Bonaventure and Siena. The event consisted of prayer, preprandium and dinner.
“As a Siena alum serving here at Siena and knowing the players, I’m of course rooting for Siena to win,” Mark said.
Mark described the additional pre-game ritual of the presentation of the Franciscan Cup to Kevin, who holds onto it for the entire game until it is given to the winning team.
“I’m not aware of any other event that takes place that joins our two Holy Name Province schools of higher education than the Franciscan Cup,” Mark said. “This friendly competition affords us a public opportunity to acknowledge the Franciscan tradition that is so important to the mission of each institution.”
The Province is involved in higher education because of its mission as an Order to evangelize and share the good news in a way that touches all the dimensions of being human, Kevin said, and having the Franciscan Cup is one way to share that mission with young people.
“Having the Franciscan Cup provides both schools the opportunity to celebrate and promote the common Franciscan tradition that gave birth to both schools,” Kevin said.
Siena College president F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, who had been a member of St. Bonaventure’s cabinet for nine years before moving to the Loudonville campus in 2014, said it was college basketball at its finest.
“Two teams playing well, passionate fans, and everyone able to celebrate after the game with old friends,” Edward said. “My only regret was the Siena students being on Christmas holiday. [They] missed a game for the memory books.”
— Mary Best is a Western New York-based writer and a graduate of St. Bonaventure University.
- “Saints Beat the Bonnies in a TU Thriller” – Dec. 23, 2015, The Daily Gazette
- “Siena Inaugurates Edward Coughlin as 11th College President” – Oct. 15, 2015, HNP Today
- “Siena Claims Franciscan Cup” – Dec. 4, 2013, HNP Today