Hymes’ Big Night Not Enough

In a familiar story line, the Saints entered their home matchup versus Niagara short handed. Ryan Oliver (knee), Rakeem Brookins (back), and Imoh Silas (ankle) all were unavailable and not in uniform. Luckily for the Saints, Evan Hymes stepped up to the challenge, matching a career high 30 points and single handedly keeping the Saints close through much of the second half. Unfortunately for the Saints, late game management and turnovers in the closing minute allowed a golden opportunity to upset first place Niagara slip away, and saw the Saints drop their third straight, 78-69.

The Saints found themselves in a seesaw battle with the Purple Eagles throughout the first half. Hymes, Poole, and Burdine combined for a big first half to keep the Saints within 2 at the break, 42-40. In the second half the Saints offense sputtered out of the gate. Evan Hymes put the team on his back and scored the team’s first 15 points of the half. The Saints trailed throughout the half, but fought back and cut the lead to 1, 70-69, with 2 minutes to play after a Hymes behind the back pass led to an OD Anosike dunk. It was as close as the Saints would get. Niagara scored the games final 8 points, with the Saints last good chance to tie, a Rob Poole three, clanked off the rim. The Saints turned the ball over twice in two of their final three possessions. Timeouts were left unused.

Hymes was clearly the story of the game and the reason the Saints were ever within striking distance during this game. The sophomore point guard scored 30 points on 7-11 shooting, 12-13 from the free throw line, to go with 6 assists in a full 40 minutes of play. The 30 points matched a career high Hymes set early last season on the road against Mount St Mary’s.

Rob Poole (flu) and Trenity Burdine (academics) both returned to the lineup after long absences. Poole scored 12 points, on 4-5 shooting, in the first half. In the second half Poole began showing signs of fatigue, expected after his long bout with the flu, and  shot 1-7 with 2 points. Poole played a heavy load of 34 minutes in his return.

Trenity Burdine played his best game of the season scoring 11 points and grabbing 5 rebounds before fouling out in the second half. After the game, Head Coach Mitch Buonaguro said he was unaware that Burdine was playing with 4 fouls. Despite fouling out, Burdine played a solid 25 minutes and looked inspired on the court.

As a team the Saints shot 45% from the field and 80% from the free throw line. Siena committed 12 turnovers to Niagara’s 3, and was out rebounded 31-28.

With the loss Siena drops to 4-16, 2-7 in the MAAC.

The Saints next travel to Poughkeepsie to take on Marist, Sunday, at 2pm.

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