Game Preview: Siena To Play New MAAC Member Monmouth

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Siena heads to West Long Branch, NJ on Thursday to take on new MAAC member Monmouth. Tipoff at the Multipurpose Athletic Center originally scheduled for 7 p.m. has been moved up to 5 p.m. due to impending weather conditions. It is the fourth meeting between the two teams with Siena leading the series 2-1. It has been nine years since the last matchup when the Saints defeated the Hawks 60-59 in NJ.

Siena enters the game with a record of 5-8, 1-1 in the MAAC following a win at home on Monday over Fordham in their final non-conference game of the season. They have won 3 of the last 4 games and 2 straight. For the Saints it will be their only road game in a span of 38 days. They are trying for their second league road win this season after winning just two MAAC road games in the last two seasons combined.

The 52 points Siena scored in the second half of Monday’s 79-69 win over Fordham were the most they have scored in a half since Feb, 13, 2011 (55 at Manhattan). They have scored 78 or more points in 3 out of the last 4 games something they accomplished just once all of last year. As a team they are averaging 70.4 ppg. after averaging just 60 last season.

Rob Poole who scored a career-high 28 points against Fordham leads the team in scoring (15.4) and rebounds (6.0). Evan Hymes who has yet to play 30 minutes in a game this season after playing 30 or more minutes in 25 of 30 games last year, is averaging 10.1 ppg., just a half a point less than a year ago. Freshman point guard Marquis Wright leads the MAAC and is in the top 30 in the nation in assists (5.7 per game) and is tops in steals in the MAAC (2.1).

Monmouth (6-7) is in search of its first MAAC win after starting conference play 0-2 with losses to Rider and Manhattan. They were picked 11th in the MAAC coaches’ preseason poll just behind Siena who was picked 10th . The Hawks are led by a pair of 6-6 junior guards, Deon Jones a transfer from Towson who leads the team in scoring with 17.1 ppg. and is tied for the team lead in rebounding with 6.7 and Andrew Nicholas who averages 15.0 ppg.

The Hawks roster includes 8 freshman, the most in the MAAC and one more than Siena’s seven. It also includes two other newcomers in Jones and 6-7 R-Freshman guard Collin Stewart from Glenville (Mekeel Christian Academy). Freshman guard Josh James was named the season’s first MAAC Rookie of the Week and was again given the same honor the Week of December 2.

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 2013-14 Results:


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


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

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