4GuysinBlazers

Game Preview: Siena Hosts Monmouth in Regular Season Finale

2013-14 mens team picture

The Saints wrap up the regular season schedule on Sunday as they face Monmouth at the Times Union Center in front of a crowd expected to be well over 7,000 people. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 pm. It is the fifth meeting all time between the two teams with the series tied at two games apiece.

Prior to the game, Siena will honor the only senior on the roster, walk on Steven Cruz as well as team managers Emily Casey and Ryan Goulding in a Senior Day ceremony. For our feature on Steven Cruz, click here.

In their first meeting this season, Siena dropped a 63-59 decision at Monmouth. The Hawks went on a 17-4 run early in the second half and after leading 34-25 at halftime, the Saints managed just 25 in the second stanza shooting just 8-24 (33.3%) and committing 15 turnovers. Monmouth forced 23 total turnovers and blocked 10 Siena shots.

Rob Poole led Siena with game-highs of 21 points and 9 rebounds. Evan Hymes scored 10 points, Lavon Long chipped in with 9 points and 6 rebounds and Maurice White added 8 points. Siena was effective in holding down Monmouth’s talented backcourt Deon Jones (4 pts.) and Andrew Nicholas (6 pts.).

With a win, Siena will continue to build momentum heading into this week’s MAAC Tournament. They have already locked up the 5th seed and a first round bye and will kick off tournament play on Saturday at 2:30 pm in the second Quarterfinal at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Mass. They will face the loser of  Canisius and Manhattan who face off against one another on Sunday in their regular season finale and are currently tied with a record of 14-5.

Although they were picked to finish 10th in the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Siena (14-16 10-9) has finished in the top five for the first time since winning its third straight regular season championship in the 2099-2010 season. After finishing 9th out of 10 teams last season (4-14) the Saints with a win will improve their conference win total by a remarkable seven games with a victory on Sunday.

Rob Poole is just three points shy of reaching the 1,000 point mark for his career. He would become the 40th player to reach that mark in Siena history and will join Evan Hymes who recently reached the milestone. Poole and Hymes would become just the second set of juniors to reach the 1,000 point mark in the same season (Alex Franklin and Edwin Ubiles in 2008-2009).

Three time MAAC Rookie of the Week, Marquis Wright leads the MAAC in assists and ranks 33rd in the nation (5.5). His 166 assists is 3rd amongst all freshmen in the country and ranks 13th on Siena’s single season assist leader list. In just under one full season, he already ranks 30th on the Siena career assist leader board.

Freshman Lavon Long has reached double figures in 6 of the last 8 games and ranks third on the team in scoring, averaging 9.6 points per game. He has scored between 10 and 16 points, 16 times this season.

Brett Bisping has averaged 10.9 points and 6.5 rebounds over the last 27 games after averaging 3.1 points and 2.8 rebounds in the first 28 games of his career. He is averaging 8.4 rebounds over the last seven games.

Monmouth enters the game with a record of 11-19, 5-14 in the MAAC. They will be the 9th seed in the upcoming MAAC Tournament. They are led by a talented junior backcourt, Deon Jones and Andrew Nicholas who average 15.0 and 14.3 respectively.

This year’s MU roster features no seniors, four juniors and a total of 12 underclassmen. In addition, the roster includes 14 first or second-year players in the program. Monmouth’s roster features the most freshmen (8) of any school in the MAAC. At the start of the season, the Hawks featured a total of just nine years of collegiate playing experience on the roster.

Monmouth Head Coach King Rice, now in his 3rd season leading the Hawks, is a former standout at North Carolina under the legendary Dean Smith. In Rice’s four years at Carolina (1988-89 to 91-92), the Tar Heels went 102-37 with four NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and a Final Four showing. Monmouth assistant coaches and Tar Heel classmates Brian Reese and Derrick Phelps, went a combined 114-27 (1990-91 to 93-94), while winning the 1993 NCAA title. It was Phelps trapping of Michigan’s Chris Webber that led to the infamous timeout call in the 1993 Championship Game.

 

Monmouth 2013-2014 Results:

November

Fri. 8 at Hofstra W, 88-84

Tues. 12 Penn L, 73-79

Mon. 18 at Seton Hall  L, 66-82

Fri. 22 at St. John’s L, 54-64

Tues. 26 at Penn State  L, 52-84

Fri. 29 Mississippi Valley State W, 81-79

Sat. 30 North Carolina A&T  W, 76-61

December

Thurs. 5 Rider*  L, 83-89

Sun. 8 at Manhattan* L, 66-75

Tues. 10 at St. Francis Brooklyn W, 73-58

Sat. 14 Binghamton W, 74-46

Sat. 21 Fordham W, 87-78

Mon. 30 Wagner L, 52-59

January

Thurs. 2 Siena* W, 63-59

Sat. 4 Quinnipiac* L, 77-94

Fri. 10 at Niagara* W, 85-74

Sun. 12 at Canisius* L, 67-87

Thurs. 16 at Quinnipiac* L, 61-70

Sun. 19 Canisius* W, 83-82

Thurs. 23 Fairfield*  W, 63-60

Sun. 26 at Rider* L, 71-77 OT

Thurs. 30 at Marist* L, 73-75

February

Tues. 4 Iona* L, 71-89

Fri. 7 at Fairfield*  L, 56-60

Sun. 9 at Saint Peter’s* L, 50-61

Fri. 14 at Iona* L, 70-89

Sun. 16 Marist* L, 92-96 2OT

Wed. 19 Manhattan* L, 61-75

Sat. 22 Saint Peter’s*  L, 51-61

Fri. 28 Niagara* W, 75-50

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