Game 1: Siena v UAlbany

The long wait is finally over! After an eventful six month offseason, the new look Siena Saints are set to open their season against cross town rival UAlbany in the battle for the Albany Cup.

If you’ve been hibernating or living under a rock for the long summer break here is the quick recap. When looking at the Saints bench if you find yourself doing a double take all you need to know is this, that animated fellow on the sidelines is former Loyola Head Coach Jimmy Patsos and yes, he really is leading the Saints.

Patsos has retooled the Saints both in members of the roster and game philosophy. This team will run. If you liked sneaking a quick nap in during the slower moments of games the past three seasons I would highly recommend altering your sleep schedule. I vividly remember thinking to myself during games against Loyola the past few seasons that they were a team full of players I hated to watch play the Saints, but I’d love them if they were on our team. They were gritty, hustled, and wore you down. Welcome to the new look of Siena basketball.

As a part of the rejuvenation of the roster Patsos has brought in freshmen Lavon Long, Marquis Wright, Michael Wolfe, Maurice White, and retained local product Javion Ogunyemi from Buonaguro’s recruiting class. He has also brought in Sophomore Pat Cole via transfer from Coppin State. While Cole will need to sit this season out after his waiver for immediate eligibility with Siena was declined, the five freshman all are expected to play contributing roles this season.

Long, Wright, and Ogunyemi will immediately find themselves in the starting lineup against Albany, joining returning Juniors Evan Hymes and Rob Poole. Hymes will find himself in a new position, sliding over to the two guard spot as Marquis Wright takes the helm at the point.

Off the bench look to returning players Imoh Silas, Ryan Oliver, and Brett Bisping to see meaningful minutes. Maurice White looks to be a factor as the season progresses. He is bouncing back from a groin injury and may see game action in tomorrow’s matchup.

The Saints face a stiff challenge from Albany, and certainly enter the game as the underdog. While the Danes have lost their potent scoring backcourt tandem of Mike Black and Jacob Iati, combined 27 ppg, to graduation, they return five seniors from a team that set a program record with 24 wins and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Albany will be looking to the likes of Pete Hooley, 8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.1 apg last season, Sam Rowley, 9 ppg 6.2 rpg last season, and John Puk, 5.3 ppg 4.4 rpg, to continue their development and help to continue the program on an upward trajectory.

Albany has won two of the last three Albany Cups but has never beaten the Saints in back to back seasons in the 12 years since the rivalry was renewed. Last season the Danes downed the Saints 69-56 and Siena will certainly be looking to start the season off on the right foot and return the Cup to Loudonville.


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