It was a rebuilding year. The team was too young. They won only eight games a year ago. The players needed to learn a new coaching staff and system. It all equated to being picked to finish 10th in the 11 team MAAC. 10th. There was one problem with that script however, the Saints refused to play their assigned role.

On the floor of the ARC, in front of a rowdy crowd of fans and students looking for a reason to explode, the Saints accomplished something no one thought they could. They beat Fresno State 81-68 to win the CBI and give both Siena and the MAAC their first national postseason tournament championships.

The Saints controlled the game from start to finish in stark contrast to game two. Maybe it was fitting . Head Coach Jimmy Patsos frequently referenced the 1985 NBA Championship series between the Boston Celtics and LA Lakers in the lead up to the unique opportunity to coach in a championship series. In game one of the series the Celtics soundly defeated the Lakers 148-114 in what would become known as the Memorial Day Massacre only to lose the series 4-2. In similar fashion Fresno had steam rolled the Saints in route to cruising to a game two win before dropping the series 2-1.

Fresno, a team that shot 76% from the floor in game two managed to only shoot 18% in game three. Siena meanwhile was firing on all cylinders both offensively and defensively, capitalizing on Fresno’s poor performance, to jump to a 39-22 half time lead.

The second half would see the Saints push the lead to as many as 22. Fresno would make one last desperation in the final minutes of the game, but the effort was too late as the Saints would hold on for the 81-68 win, their 20th win of the season.

When it was over the hundreds of Siena students in attendance, enticed to come out to the early start by free bacon, stormed the court. Three years of frustration melting away in a sea of yellow on the floor.

Brett Bisping earned tournament MVP honors. Fittingly the sophomore forward had an outstanding performance again in game three, scoring 20 and pulling down nine rebounds. Rob Poole (23) and Marquis Wright (12) joined him in double figures.

In the postgame press conference Coach Patsos brought a sign that has hung in the Saints locker room all season. It is a simple plaque with a quote from Gandhi.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight with you, then you win.”

No one is laughing at the Saints anymore. The Saints are 2014 CBI and the future of Siena basketball looks very bright.

For Postgame Comments: Click Here.

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