Game Preview: Siena At Quinnipiac In Final Regular Season Road Game

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Siena heads to Quinnipiac on Thursday night in their final regular season road game. Tipoff at the TD Bank Sports Center is scheduled for 8:30 pm in a game to be aired on ESPN3. It will be the 4th meeting all time between the two teams with Siena leading the series 2-1.

In their last matchup on Feb 1, Quinnipiac drew even from a nine point Siena lead with 3:16 to go to send the game into overtime and went on to win 103-95. Siena was whistled for a school record 40 fouls and the Bobcats outscored Siena 47-25 at the free throw line. The two teams combined for a staggering 100 free throw attempts. Six Siena players were disqualified due to fouls.

Rob Poole led Siena with 26 points. Brett Bisping had 20 points, Marquis Wright had a double-double with 18 points, all in the second half and 10 assists and Lavon Long added 16 points. Zaid Hearst led the Bobcats with 25 points. Umar Shannon scored 21 and Ike Azotam tallied 19. Ousmane Drame added a double-double with 17 points and 12 boards.

With wins in their final two games, Siena (13-16, 9-9) would clinch the 5th seed in the upcoming MAAC Tournament. They would also clinch the 5 seed with one win and one Marist loss and one Rider loss, or two losses and two Rider losses and one Marist loss.

Rob Poole is just 18 points away from reaching the 1,000 point career milestone. He would be the 40th player in Siena history to reach the mark after Evan Hymes tallied his 1,000th point last Friday in the win over Manhattan. Poole will be looking to get back on track offensively on the road after scoring just 13 points combined in the last 3 games away from the Times Union Center.

Marquis Wright is averaging 11.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 49% from the field in the last 13 games. He leads the MAAC in assists (5.5) and is second in the league in steals (1.7). He has scored in double figures in 8 of the last 12 games. Wright is currently number 14 on the Siena single season assist leader list with 159.

Lavon Long has scored in double figures 15 times this season. He has averaged 10.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in the last 11 games.

Siena is one of two teams in the MAAC, along with Iona that has 5 players averaging nine or more points. The Saints and Niagara are the only teams currently with just one player (Rob Poole 15.0) averaging in double figures. Siena ranks third in the league in field goal percentage defense (.423) and ranks second (38.2), right behind the Bobcats (46.2), in rebounding.

Quinnipiac enters the game with a record of 19-8, 14-4 in the MAAC following a 90-88 win over Niagara via an Umar Shannon  game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer on Saturday. They have won 7 in a row and currently sit in 2nd place behind Iona.

Quinnipiac is currently ranked number 25 in the College Insider Mid-Major Poll. As of Wednesday, they hold an RPI ranking of 79 in the nation according to RealTimeRPI.com (Siena 195). The Bobcats are 18-2 in their last 20 home games at the TD Bank Sports Center.

Umar Shannon was named the Lou Henson National Player of the Week, awarded to the top Mid-Major player in Division I by College Insider on Monday. Shannon averaged 17.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists during the 2-0 week for the Bobcats. He is averaging 14.7 points per game on the season.

Quinnipiac is the only team in the country that has two players averaging a double-double for the 2013-14 season. Ike Azotam is averaging team highs of 17.0 points (7th in MAAC) and 10.7 rebounds (1st in MAAC) per game with 16 double-doubles, while Ousmane Drame is averaging 13.6 points and 10.4 rebounds (2nd in MAAC) per contest with 12 double-doubles.

Zaid Hearst also averages in double figures for Quinnipiac with 15.6 points per game (10th in MAAC). He is tied for 6th in the MAAC in rebounds (7.0).

“We’ve got a really tough game at Quinnipiac,” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos. “They’ve won seven in a row. They started the winning streak with us in overtime. They have 3 seniors. They have the two best big men in the league. I think Drame and Azotam are the two best bigs in the league playing the 4 and 5 position. It’s gonna be a tough game down there. Gotta go down and play probably the most physical team in the league.”

“I’m definitely excited,” said Lavon Long. “I know we can beat them because it was a close game, just a few things down the stretch that we didn’t do. I’m excited, plus I like physical teams.”

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