Hymes Hot Start Fuels Siena Win Over Niagara


The thermometer may have bottomed out outside, but Siena got off to a hot start Thursday night and beat Niagara, 79-69 at the Times Union Center. Siena scored the game’s first 19 points and despite a second half Niagara run, the Saints stood their ground to pull off the win moving to 6-8 overall and 3-2 in the MAAC.

After Niagara secured the opening tip, senior Evan Hymes quickly stole the ball and raced to the hoop for the opening basket. While the Purple Eagles committed 6 turnovers and missed four shots on their first 10 possessions, Hymes scored 8 early points including two three-pointers and by the time Rob Poole hit another three with 14:29 to go in the first half, Siena led 19-0.

Niagara broke the seal on their basket hitting a free throw at the 14:19 mark of the first half for their first point of the game.  Soon after Hymes grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast giving the Saints a 20-point lead, their largest of the game. The Purple Eagles finally scored their first field goal with 12:28 to go before halftime and would cut the deficit to 9, but Siena answered back and took a 39-22 lead into the locker room.

“I thought Evan Hymes just brought a tremendous amount of energy,” Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. “Two days ago in practice, (he) said: `We have a chance to win this league and we’re going to come out and prove it (tonight). People like Evan on our team, so when they see him playing with that much energy and enthusiasm they go right along with him.”

With Siena’s Lavon Long and Javion Ogunyemi both on the bench with 4 fouls, Niagara would twice cut the lead all the way down to 4 points midway through the second half.. With the two inserted back into the game Siena scored 6 quick points and again created some separation and they went on to lead by double digits for much of the rest of the  game.

Hymes led Siena with a season-high 21 points, shooting 9-10 from the field. Poole scored 17 points including 8-8 from the free throw line and grabbed 9 rebounds.

“Evan Hymes gave us a great start but Rob Poole just wouldn’t let us lose that game,” said Patsos.

Long finished with 14 points for Siena on 7-9 shooting and Marquis Wright had yet another strong overall outing scoring 12 points with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Ogunyemi had five of the Saints’ season-high 8 blocks.

“Everybody followed Evan’s energy from the beginning,” said Wright. “When we came out from half-time I felt like we got a little lackadaisical but again we stayed together as a team and pulled out the win.”

Wesley Myers led Niagara (3-10, 2-3) with a career-high 21 points including 4-4 three-pointers. Emile Blackman scored 11 points and Ramone Snowden added 10.

The Saints outshot Niagara 53% to 37% from the field and outscored them 42-26 on points in the paint.

Walk-on Jimmy Merrill provided the highlight of the game scoring the first points of his career on a two handed dunk off a nifty pass from Wright in the game’s closing seconds.

Siena returns to action on Sunday to face Fairfield. Tipoff at the Times Union Center is at 2 pm.

For more postgame comments and to see Jimmy Merrill’s dunk: Click Here

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  1. Pingback: Postgame Comments Following Siena Win Over Niagara | 4GuysinBlazers

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