Michael Davenport isn't St. Bonaventure's point guard by designation. Nor does he rank among the team's top two in assists. But it's become apparent the last few games that most of what the Bonnies do on the offensive end now runs through the 6-foot-5 junior guard from Cincinnati with an uncanny ability to shoot, slash and dish.
Davenport played a prominent role again Tuesday night in leading St. Bonaventure over Siena, 82-79, before 3,679 at the Reilly Center. He supported Andrew Nicholson's game-high 26 points with 20 of his own. He handed out seven assists. He tied for the team lead with eight rebounds and two steals. Five turnovers were the only blotch on a diverse performance that included 11 points during Bona's rally from a nine-point deficit with 10 minutes to play.
The anticipated duel between Nicholson and Ryan Rossiter, Siena's senior center, played out decisively in Nicholson's favor. He added seven rebounds, two blocks and two assists to his 26 points while Rossiter, averaging 20.2 points and 13.3 rebounds, was held to just five field-goal attempts, four points and 10 boards.
"They were doubling him, they were really coming," Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro said. "They weren't giving him any breathing room."
"Andrew had him and Andrew did a great job, but it was a team effort," said Bona coach Mark Schmidt. "We tried to get feet around him and double him every time he caught it. It led to some open three-pointers but somehow, some way we had to find a way to stop him."
"When he caught the ball get feet around him, make life more difficult," Nicholson said. "Force him to dribble the ball out and pass it and let the other [players] beat us."
Siena played its second straight game without injured guard Clarence Jackson, their second-leading scorer. But backcourt production wasn't the problem for a team coming off a stunning victory over Georgia Tech. Kyle Downey struck for a career-high 21 points. Rakeem Brookins had a career-high 18. Siena went 5 for 5 from behind the arc in turning a 32-28 halftime deficit into a 55-46 advantage with 10:24 left.
At that point, the Bonnies had gone more than six minutes without a field goal from anyone other than Nicholson. They needed to rediscover their balance, which they did.
Ogo Adegboye (18 points) got things started with a three. Davenport followed with another bomb. On consecutive possessions, Davenport struck for the go-ahead basket, the latter at 64-63 on a layup off his steal. His three with 2:25 left made it 70-63 and the Bonnies protected their advantage from the foul line, making 19 of 23 on the night and 10 of 12 in the last 1:24.
"I think his confidence level is up, and when your confidence level is up you're going to continue to play well," Schmidt said of Davenport, who's hit double figures in six straight games. "When you're shooting the ball 4 for 7 [from three] when Mike came in as a freshman he had a hard time hitting the backboard."
"They were sagging down on Andrew a lot when he caught it on the block so I was just ready to shoot and he was ready to kick it out," Davenport said.
Nicholson made room for himself early by taking his game away from the low post. Once he established he would take and could make the mid-range jumper, Siena was forced to extend itself defensively, which also opened room for the likes of Davenport.
The Bonnies are home to Marshall at 4 Sunday afternoon.