Five minutes remaining in regulation, Daryl Banks III gets his first bucket to fall from the field, foreshadowing a special performance that was brewing. Banks was the center of attention for the Canisius Golden Griffins defense, doing anything they could to keep the ball out of his hands.
The Bonnies and Griffs needed extra time to decide the outcome of this rendition of their Little Three rivalry, paving the way for some late magic from Banks. He knocked down three 3-point shots in a row, all within the final minute of overtime, including two made free throws for an astonishing 11 points in that final 60 seconds of the game.
Banks' heroics unfortunately came too little too late, as the Bonnies could not overcome the early deficit they suffered during the overtime period, losing their first game of the season at the Koessler Center by a final score of 84-80.
"I have to be consistent from the start of the game, I can't wait that long. It's going to hurt us as a team." Banks said. "We're just going to learn from it, we're going to go back and get better."
Coming into the season, it was clear that Bona's new team would need some time to gel. The offense found themselves in multiple ruts throughout the course of the game. Growing pains that they will need to find a way through.
In the early going, the Bonnies offense has run through Banks and Kyrell Luc, both leading the team in minutes and field goal attempts by a large margin. Against the Griffs, both struggled from the field, and the tandem would have had a pretty subpar shooting night if it wasn't for Banks' 3-point makes as the clock dwindled.
Luc struggled to find shooting rhythm all night, but shot well in the 3-point attempts he took, going 2-for-4 from that range. He also led the Bonnies in both assists and rebounds for a well-rounded statline of 13 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds.
His facilitating prowess was particularly impressive, assisting on each of Banks' long range makes during the overtime period.
However, for the Bonnies, your 5'11 point guard leading the team in rebounds is probably not the plan for any game.
Overall, the backcourt of Banks and Luc is where the Bonnies lived and died offensively against the Griffs. If either or both of the guards were able to string together a scoring run earlier at any point during regulation, there may have been a much different outcome.
Hartford transfer Moses Flowers made his Bonaventure debut after missing the opener due to a concussion that he reportedly suffered during practice. Against Canisius, he played 16 minutes in support of Banks and Luc. Although Flowers' debut was underwelming, going 0-for-5 from the field, his support of the large minute volume the starting backcourt is seeing will be huge for this team's depth. As he ramps his way back up, I think we should start seeing more minutes for Flowers, and hopefully the confidence will follow.
Outside of the guards, center Chad Venning had a strong showing in 20 minutes off the bench, converting on a few strong takes in the post resulting in 11 points on the night. Through two games, he has shown that he may be a big piece for this team on both sides of the floor due to his size and strength.
Yann Farrell had a hot start for the Bonnies, scoring the team's first 5 points. He only ended up seeing 10 total minutes after picking up two first half fouls, and another early in the second, causing coach Mark Schmidt to rely on other forwards to round out his rotations down the stretch. Farrell may have been a spark plug for the Bonnies offense if he was able to stay on the floor longer as he saw his shots fall early as others struggled.
The Griff's 3-point shooting and lackluster perimeter defense from the Bonnies was a problem, as Canisius was able to hit 11-of-21 from long range. The Bonnies will need to shut down clean attempts from future opponents, as it's tough to win when the other team is shooting at a 50% clip from 3-point land.
"It was defense," Schmidt said when asked about the difference in the overtime period. "We gave up 18 points in five minutes, and that's the difference."
As Bona works to get right in upcoming matchups, the key will be finding their groove early. There were multiple easy scoring opportunities that could have impacted the game later on that the Bonnies didn't take advantage of. Banks will also need to get going early, as not seeing a shot fall from the field until late in the second half is a killer for Bona's offensive leader.
The Bonnies take the court next against South Dakota State at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Tuesday night at 8 p.m.