Poole Leads Siena To Big Win Over Rider


Siena overcame a slow start as senior Rob Poole’s season-high 27 points pushed them past Rider, 79-72 at the Times Union Center Monday night. Despite the frigid cold temperature outside and a strangely sparse crowd due to a winter storm that dumped over a foot of snow on downtown Albany, the Saints were able to generate enough heat of their own to beat one of the MAAC’s top teams.

“It was a gutty team effort,” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos. “Rob Poole continues to not let us lose games.  He just wasn’t letting us lose that one.”

The official attendance figure for the game was 5,472 but the actual amount of fans was much lower as that number accounts for tickets off the system and includes season tickets sold. Many of those present were rather vocal, which did not go unnoticed on the part of the Saints.

“We wanted to battle,” said Patsos. “Thank you to our fans that came. They were loud.”

Rider, who entered the night winners of seven straight on the road, came out hot from the start opening up a 20-4 lead with 12:18 to go in the first half.  But a technical foul assessed to Siena coach Jimmy Patsos just seconds before, seemed to light a fire under the Saints as they went on a 19-2 run capped by a Lavon Long three-pointer to take the lead, 23-22 with 6:53 to go before the break.

“The technical foul that Coach got, got us going,” said Poole. “We saw that he was fighting so we just wanted to help him out.”

“We started off slow but then they (coaches) told us, even though there wasn’t a lot of fans there, we’ve got to bring our own energy and that’s what we did from that 20- 4 stretch on,” said sophomore point guard Marquis Wright. “We just played together as a team and fought hard and came out with the win.”

After trailing 34-32 at halftime, the Saints gave up the first two points of the second half but then really heated up from there. A Poole three-pointer and a jumper by Ryan Oliver with 18:31 to go, gave the Saints the lead for good as they shot 16-23 (69.6%) from the field in the second half to secure the win.

Siena handled the Broncs pressure defense with precision committing just five total turnovers for the game, equaling a season low. They had committed 15 or more in their last eight games including 22 their last time out versus Manhattan. They credited that game as preparing them for taking much better care of the ball on Monday.

“I felt like we were way tougher with the ball this game than the last game,” said Wright. “We fought back and then we kept fighting. That’s why we won.”

The win moves the Saints to 9-12 overall and an even 6-6 in the MAAC having now split a  6 MAAC weekends tis season. They stand alone in sixth place just a game behind fifth place  Canisius. Rider now sits in a three way tie for second place with Manhattan and Monmouth at 8-4 behind first place Iona (9-2) who Siena faces on Friday.

Poole’s game-high 27 points came on 8-13 shooting from the field and 8-11 from the free throw line. He moves to 14th on the all-time scoring list at Siena passing Scott Knapp. His 1,393 points puts him just behind Doug Poetzsch at 1,398.

Sophomore point guard Marquis Wright was excellent for the Saints playing all 40 minutes while scoring 17 points with 6 assists and zero turnovers along with 4 rebounds. Sophomore Javion Ogunyemi was solid once again scoring 12 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Jimmy Paige added a spark again for the Saints with 8 points and Ryan Oliver contributed all around adding 6 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists with no turnovers in his 34 minutes off the bench.

The Broncs were led by Jimmie Taylor with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Zedric Taylor added 12 points and Matt Lopez tallied a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Siena heads on the road on Friday to face first-place Iona in a game to be televised nationally  on ESPNU.  Tipoff is at 7 pm.

Click here for more: Postgame Comments Following Win Over Rider


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