Game Preview: Siena Home Opener Vs. Vermont

men's 2014-15 team picture

The Siena Saints take on Vermont on Monday night in the 2014-2015 home-opener. Tip off at the Times Union Center is scheduled for 7 pm. Fans in attendance will be able see the 2014 CBI Championship banner lowered from the rafters prior to the start of the game. The game will be Siena’s 300th game all time at the TUC where they are 203-96. They are just 24,167 shy of drawing their two millionth fan at the downtown arena. Solid crowds in their first two home games would put them on pace to possibly reach the milestone vs. U Albany on Dec.13.

The game will mark the 31st meeting between the two teams with Siena leading the series 21-9.  Vermont has won each of the last four years and five of the last six matchups. It was the Catamounts who snapped Siena’s 38-game home winning streak on Nov. 13, 2010 which at the time was the second longest in the nation entering the game.

In their last meeting the Catamounts beat Siena 77-66 at Vermont’s Patrick Gymnasium. In a physical battle plagued by foul calls (37 against Siena, 26 against Vermont),  eight players fouled out and five technical were handed out. Rob Poole led all scorers with 22 points and Lavon Long added 12 for Siena. Clancy Rugg led Vermont with 19. Sandro Carissimo added 16, Luke Apfeld had 12, Kurt Steidel 10 and Brian Voelkel tallied 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Siena is coming off a hard-fought 95-87 loss at UMass on Friday night in their season opener. Four Siena players finished in double figures led by Poole who scored 19 points along with 9 rebounds. Ryan Oliver finished with 14 points, hitting 4-5 three-pointers. Long had 12 points and 8 rebounds and Pat Cole added 12 off the bench in his Siena debut. The 87 points scored by Siena were the most scored in a regulation by the Saints since Feb. 2010, a span of 142 games.

Sophomore Maurice White who was out on opening night after having a cyst removed from his hip area, returned to practice this weekend and may be available to play on Monday night. Poole sat out practice on Sunday after he also had a cyst removed but is expected to play against Vermont.

Vermont enters the game with a record of 0-1 following a 64-60 loss to Canisius in their season-opener on Saturday. Freshman Trey Bell-Haynes led the Catamounts with 17 points.

Vermont was picked to finish fourth in the America East Preseason Poll. Last season (22-11), they won their sixth America East Regular Season Championship  and the first under head coach John Becker, a Catholic U. teammate of Siena coach Jimmy Patsos. It was their 6th consecutive 20-win season. UVM returns just one starter, junior Ethan O’Day who is the only player on the roster with more than one year’s experience in the program.

Vermont has eight newcomers – seven freshmen and transfer Darren Payen (will sit out 2014-15 after transferring from Hofstra). They lost six seniors and five starters including three 1,000-point scorers – Luke Apfeld (1,048 pts), Sandro Carissimo (1,141 pts) and Candon Rusin (1,071). Also graduating after last season was Brian Voelkel, their all-time leader in rebounds (1,145), assists (663), games played (132) and consecutive games played (129) .







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