Rider Beats Saints In MAAC Opener

Despite a valiant effort in an earlier than expected return from injury by the Saints’ Rakeem Brookins, Rider held on to win the MAAC opener beating Siena 62-56. The loss marked the 6th straight for the Saints (2-8, 0-1).

 Brookins who missed the last 3 games after reinjuring his back in the closing minutes of a loss vs Maine, was expected to return no sooner than the end of the month. But, he entered the game early in the first half and after shaking off some rust began to provide the Saints with a much needed spark.
“It was a different game when he was in there.”, said Siena head coach Mitch Bounaguro. “The energy that he brought the team because of his hustle and his will to win is what made the difference.”
Taking over at the point for Evan Hymes for most of the second half, Brookins was effective in pushing the pace for Siena’s struggling offense who shot just 9-27 (33.3%) and scored just 22 points in the first half. They trailed by as many as 14 in the second half but behind Brookins effort would close to within 5 as he sank two free throws with 3:23 to go. Rider held on in the closing minutes however handing Siena their 4th home loss of the season and matching their worst Division I start over the first ten games.
Although shooting better from the field in the second half (13-26, 50%), free-throw shooting, again proved to be the Achilles heel for the Saints.
“This problem has been in every close game”, said Bounaguro. “Six for seventeen, two for nine at the half is not going to get it done. We’ve got to clean up our free-throw shooting.”
Brookins finished with 12 points to go along with 4 steals, 3 assists and 2 rebounds for Siena.  OD Anosike recorded his eight double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and Rob Poole also added 11 points with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Anthony Myles led the way for Rider (6-4, 1-0) with 20 points. Jonathon Thompson scored 12 along with 9 rebounds and 4 assists and Nurideen Lindsey added 11.
Siena will head on the road to take on Manhattan on Sunday at 2 pm.

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