Game Preview: Siena at Marist


men's 2014-15 team picture

Siena heads to Poughkeepsie Thursday night to take on MAAC rival Marist. Tip off at the McCann Center for a game to be broadcast on ESPN3 is scheduled for 8 pm. It is the 76th meeting between the two teams with Siena leading the series 50-25. The Saints have won 14 of the last 17 meetings.

Siena enters the game with a record of 9-14 overall and 6-8 in the MAAC, tied for 7th place with St. Peter’s . The Saints are coming off a 65-57 loss at St. Peter’s on Monday giving them their fourth loss in the last five games. They are just one game out of fifth place. The top five teams get a bye in the First Round of the MAAC Tournament in March.

“No more moral victories,” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos. “To move up in the standings you have to win. Iona appears to be separating themselves but I’ll say it again. Manhattan’s a really good team. We’ve got a chance. We have to position ourselves. It would be nice to get fifth or above but if we don’t, we’ll deal with that when it comes. But, there’s a lot of basketball to be played. Thursday night’s a big game against Marist.”

In the first matchup this season Senior Rob Poole came out firing and scored 17 second-half points to lift Siena past Marist, 69-60. Poole finished with 20, Lavon Long scored 15 points, Marquis Wright tallied 14 and Javion Ogunyemi added 11. Willem Brandwijk grabbed 8 boards. Chavaughn Lewis led Marist with 19 points, T.J.Curry finished with 14 points and Khallid Hart added 11.

“We created our own energy against St. Peter’s we just ran out of energy,” said Patsos. “We have to find a way to sustain it. It’s gonna be 8 or 9 guys or it’s not gonna happen. So, Maurice White may play a little. You saw Maurice (White) playing out there (in practice), there’s a chance I could play another guy.”

Rob Poole leads Siena and ranks T-7th in the MAAC averaging 14.2 points per game. He is shooting 47% from three-point range over his last 11 games after shooting just 26% over his first 10 games this season. Poole is 1 of just 5 active players in the country with 500 rebounds, 200 three-pointers, 200 assists and 100 steals. He ranks 12th all-time in scoring at Siena (1,415) behind Eric Banks (11th, 1,432) and Ryan Rossiter (10th, 1,457). He is 5th all-time in three-pointers 204) behind Marc Brown (224).

Marquis Wright is 2nd on the tea ion scoring (13.2 ppg) and is now second in the MAAC in assists (4.9) and assist/turnover ratio (1.8) after leading the league for much of the season. He has had more turnovers than assists in four of the last eight games after not doing so in the first 15 games of the season. Just a sophomore, Wright is 14th all-time in assists at Siena  (311) behind Kenny Hasbrouck (13th, 331) and Evan Hymes (12th, 342).

Hymes is one of just 8 players at Siena all-time to have scored 1,200 points and tallied 300 assists. He is just 46 points away from becoming 1 of 5 to have 1,300 point and 200 assists. Hymes is 26th in scoring at Siena (1,254) behind Bob Hermanm (25th, 1,258) and OD Anosike (24th, 1,259). He is 12th in assists (342) behind Prosper Karangwa (343) and 11th in three-pointers (174) behind Jeff Robinson (175).

Lavon Long is third on Siena in scoring with 11.8 points per game and tied with Poole for the lead in rebounding with 4.9 boards per game. He has reached double figures in 9 of his last 11 games.

Javion Ogunyemi is averaging 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game after averaging just 1.9 points and 1.8 rebounds his freshman season. He scored in double figures for the 11th time this season on Monday. Ogunyemi ranks 4th in the MAAC in field goal percentage shooting 51.9%.

Freshman Jimmy Paige has begun to emerge for the Saints, starting the last two games and averaging 7.5 points and shooting 69% from the field over the last four.

The Saints are now certain to being playing without junior Brett Bisping for the remainder of the season as he announced on Monday he would be applying for a Medical Hardship Waiver from the NCAA. He is recovering following surgery on a dislocated toe he suffered in the sixth game of the season.

“I’m happy we have Brett for two more years and Imoh for a year and we’ve got some new guys coming in and it will be interesting next year but we’re in this year. This year matter’s a lot to everybody. We’re fine. There’s no like freaking out. We’re still upset when we lose but we understand when we’re close. Who’s the next guy to step up? I hope it’s somebody. Someone else has to have like 12 or 15 points in a game to help us win. That happened a lot last year. That would really help.”

The Saints are shooting 80% (93-117) from the free throw line in the last five games. The rank third in the nation in free throws made per game with 18.4. Poole ranks 2nd in the MAAC in free throw percentage at 83.3%. Hymes is 3rd in the MAAC shooting 81.8%.

Siena has struggled defensively allowing 75.2 points per game which is the most in the MAAC and 17th most in the country.

Marist enters the game with a record of 5-19 overall and 4-10 in the MAAC following an 89-67 loss at Iona on Sunday, breaking a four-game winning streak. Prior to that streak, the Red Foxes has lost 14 straight games with the 14th coming at Siena.

The Red Foxes are led in scoring by 6-5 senior forward, Chavaughn Lewis who is averaging 21.0 points per game. Sophomore Khallid Hart is also in double figures averaging 14.6 points, Phillip Lawrence averages 9.0 and T.J. Curry adds 8.3.

Marist is back to full strength after 3 key players all missed multiple games due to injury, Curry (15), Hart (13) and Lewis (3). All three played last time versus Siena. Marist did play without 6-9 junior center Eric Truog (6.2 ppg. 6.0 rpg.) due to injury in the first matchup with the Saints. He has since returned.

“Marist is very different than they were at the beginning of the year,” Patsos said.  “When we played them they had the big three back. They’re playing well, Chavaughn Lewis could end up being the leading scorer ever there. Tough task. Siena-Marist is a big rivalry. Curry’s playing well, Lewis and then Khalid Hart is good. We have our hands full. Those guys are good players. He’s a good coach (Mike Maker) he won a national championship at William’s. He was with John Beilien forever. Mike’s a good coach.”

“Chavaughn Lewis, I wanted him at Loyola,” Patsos continued. “I know he’s good. Curry can make threes and Khalid Hart got Rookie of the Year so they’re good. Then Lawrence is from Baltimore. I can’t get every kid from Baltimore but he’s a really good kid. We liked him. He was a good player and he was on Lavon Long’s team in high school.”

“They got the band and it’s an interesting atmosphere with all the wood, but I like it,” Patsos said. “Marist has been a great game ever since I’ve been in the league. But Marist and Siena means a lot more than Marist and Loyola. We have a good attitude. We know it’s a tough game. We know every game’s a tough game in the MAAC. We’re excited to play. We know everything’s at stake. Everything’s still up in the air.”


Marist 2014-2015 Results:

N14 at Bucknell L, 75-72

N22 ARMY L, 76-62

N24 vs Florida Gulf Coast$ L, 58-43

N25 vs. Hawaii$ L, 62-55

N26 vs. Fresno State$ W, 68-64

D1 at Boston College L, 79-61

D4 MONMOUTH* L, 57-50

D7 at Manhattan* L, 60-38

D9 at Penn L, 59-42

D13 at VMI L, 92-77


D28 at Elon L, 69-64

J2 RIDER* L, 69-59

J4 at Saint Peter’s* L, 79-67

J8 CANISIUS* L, 67-52

J11 at Quinnipiac* L, 66-54

J16 at Fairfield * L, 60-54

J18 QUINNIPIAC* L, 72-71

J23 at Siena* L, 69-60

J25 FAIRFIELD* W, 73-67

J30 at Niagara* W, 65-61

F1 at Canisius* W, 75-67

F6 NIAGARA* W, 63-61

F8 at Iona* L, 89-67


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