Game Preview: Siena Hosts Niagara And Nation’s Leading Scorer

bisping and jimmy

The Saints return to the Times Union Center Thursday night in a double header with the women’s team. The women take on Manhattan at 6 p.m. with the men facing Niagara and the nation’s leading scorer, Antoine Mason in a game scheduled to tip off at 8:30. It will be the 90th meeting between the two teams with Niagara leading the series by just one game, 45-44. The game will air live on ESPN3 with Doug Sherman and Rob Kennedy on the call.

Siena enters the game with an overall record of 9-12, 5-5 in the MAAC following a 64-46 win at Fairfield on Sunday. Rob Poole and Brett Bisping finished with 19 points each Ryan Oliver scored 9 points. With the win the Saints have already surpassed their win total from last season (8-24, 4-14).

Starting with tonight’s matchup with Niagara, 5 of Siena’s next 7 are at home. They have won 6 of last 7 at home. Opponents are averaging just 63.9 points and have shot 38% FG at the TUC vs. the Saints.

Evan Hymes is just 44 points away from becoming Siena’s 31st Division I 1,000 point scorer. He ranks 11th all-time at Siena in career 3-pointers (139). Rob Poole is 15th (125).

Rob Poole is the only player in the MAAC to rank in the top 15 in scoring, rebounding and three-pointers made.

Marquis Wright leads the MAAC in assists (5.5) and steals (1.9) and has had just 1 turnover in the last 2 games. He has averaged 10.2 points, 6 rebounds and 4.8 assists and shot 49% over the last 5 games.

Lavon Long has averaged 10.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 blocks the last 3 games while shooting 86% (12-14) from the free throw line. He is 3rd on the team in scoring (9.0 points) and tied for 3rd in rebounds (5.0).

In their last matchup at Niagara (Dec. 6), the Saints won 84-71 in their MAAC opener. Poole led the way for Siena with a game-high 21 points including 4-6 three pointers, along with 8 rebounds. Hymes scored 14 points and Lavon Long also scored 14 in addition to grabbing 7 rebounds. Brett Bisping added 10.

The Saints were able to limit Niagara’s Mason, the nation’s leading scorer (27.4 points per game) to 18 points. Rayvon Harris added 15 points and Ramone Snowden had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Purple Eagles. Marvin Jordan, Niagara’s 2nd leading scorer (9.9 ppg.) had just 7.

“Mason’s taken the most shots. A prolific scorer, one of the best scorers in the country,” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos. “But Marvin Jordan didn’t play well last time we played them and I know he’s going to play well this time. That guy can shoot threes. Mason’s going to come in and want to get revenge and Jordan is a senior who can really play.”

There is no question, Niagara relies heavily on Mason’s offensive production which is quite remarkable. In addition to leading the nation in scoring at 27.4 points per game, Mason leads the nation in free throws made (186) and free throw attempts (251), and is second in field goals made (177) and in field goals attempts (393). He accounts for 35 percent of Niagara points which leads the country.

“I expect a tough matchup.” Said Patsos. “They can score. They had a couple of tough losses and they’ve had some good wins. They just beat Marist so they’ll come in ready to play. They’re looking forward to this. Mason’s going to like the arena in the lights and everything and Marvin Jordan, so we got our hands full.”

Mason also leads the nation in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (8.7). He has 25 straight games in double figures, has nine 30-point games this season, including a stretch of five straight and has scored at least 20 points in 19 of 21 games this season. He has scored at least 20 points in a half eight times this season, including six times in the second half (five straight from Nov. 21-30).

The Purple Eagles enter the game with a record of 6-15, 3-7 in the MAAC following a 80-74 home victory over Marist on Friday.

“They’re good. They’re battling,” Patsos said. “Chris is doing a good job. Chris Casey was at St. John’s when they were good with Norm Roberts. He can coach. CW Post, he got them in NCAA. It’s just his first year in the MAAC.”


Niagara 2013-2014 Results:



Sat. 9 at Seton Hall^ (%) L, 83-72

WED. 13 BUFFALO W, 92-81

Thur. 21 USC Upstate^ L, 83-74

Fri. 22 Western Carolina^ L, 98-90

Sat. 23 at Kent State^ L, 102-97

Tues. 26 at Penn L, 85-66

Sat. 30 at Northwestern State L, 107-100


Mon. 2 at Arkansas State L, 86-61

FRI. 6 SIENA* L, 84-71

SUN. 8 SAINT PETER’S* W, 61-56

Wed. 11 Davidson (First Niagara Center) W, 83-72


SUN. 29 BROWN W, 68-65


Thur. 2 at Rider * L, 85-83

Sat. 4 at Iona * L, 118-92

FRI. 10 MONMOUTH* L, 85-74

SUN. 12 RIDER* L, 90-78

Thur. 16 at Fairfi eld * (#) W, 67-63

Sat. 18 at Quinnipiac * L, 85-71

Wed. 22 at Canisus * L, 87-74

FRI. 24 MARIST * W, 80-74


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