Saints Come Home To Take On Hofstra


Siena returns to action on Monday night after a 14-day break for final exams to face Hofstra of the Colonial Athletic Association. Tip off at the Times Union Center is at 7 p.m. It will be the fifth meeting between the two teams with Hofstra leading the series 4-0. The two teams last met in February of 2012 in an ESPN Bracketbuster matchup with the Pride winning 81-69 in Hempstead.

After 35 days and a stretch of seven straight away games, the Saints (3-8) will finally have the opportunity to play in front of the home crowd in 5 of the next 6 games. While gaining valuable experience on the road for his young team, coach Jimmy Patsos still believes there’s no place like home.

“Of course we want to be back,” said Patsos. “The Times Union Center is one of the big reasons I came to coach up here. We’re excited to be back there. We’re ready for the next wave of our season. We miss our fans. It’s great walking out on that court. We have the best fans in the MAAC and that’s a real advantage and we’re looking forward to it.”

The game will also mark the return of freshman big man Javion Ogunyemi who has been out since suffering an ankle sprain early in the Saints’ last home game vs. St. Bonaventure. After starting the first 4 games of his career, Ogunyemi missed the next 7 and is very much looking forward to returning to action, particularly in front of his hometown crowd.

“As a group we’re all looking forward to playing home in front of our fans,” said Ogunyemi. “We haven’t seen them in over a month and we miss having the home court advantage. It feels good for me to have my first game back against Hofstra with my family and friends to watch me play. For me being a local kid that was probably the big thing in my decision was just being home and being comfortable.”

After earning a split in their MAAC-opening Western New York swing, averaging 81 points while shooting 55% from the field, Siena will look to continue their offensive output against a Hofstra team which is likely to look to slow the Saints down. Hofstra Head Coach Joe Mihalich returns to Albany with his new team after leading Niagara for 15 years becoming the all-time winningest coach in MAAC history (265 victories).

“He looks like he’s playing a little more cautious this year and that’s ok,” said Patsos of Mihalich. “He’s gonna try and shorten the game. They’re competing. They’ll be ready to go. We’ve got more guys. I wanna try and wear them down. He wants to hold the ball and play zone.”

Rob Poole leads the Saints in scoring averaging 14.4 points per game followed by Evan Hymes (10.5) and Lavon Long (9.5). Brett Bisping has emerged over the last 8 games in Ogunyemi’s absence averaging 9.4 points and 7 rebounds per game while shooting 56% from the field over that span. He has already scored more points (84) than all of last season (80). Freshman point guard Marquis Wright ranks 22nd nationally with 6.2 assists per game and is second nationally amongst freshman. He averaged 11 assists in the first two MAAC games.

Hofstra enters the game with a record of 3-6 following a 72-67 victory over Central Connecticut State on December 15 that broke a 3-game losing streak. Graduate forward Zeke Upshaw led the way with 22 points. Junior center Moussa Kone added 13 points and 8 rebounds, freshman guard Jamall Robinson scored 13 points and senior forward Stephen Nwaukoni tallied a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Upshaw, the leading scorer in the CAA so far this season, is averaging 19.9 points per game for the Pride. Robinson, a two time CAA Rookie of the Week, is scoring 9.3 points per game, while Nwaukoni leads Hofstra with 8.7 rebounds along with 8.2 points per game. They will be without graduate guard Dion Nesmith, their second leading scorer (13.5 ppg.), who is out of action due to injury.


Hofstra 2013-14 Results:

Nov 08   Monmouth -Mack Sports Complex    84 – 88 (L)

Nov 10   Fairleigh Dickinson -Mack Sports Complex   80 – 58 (W)


Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff

Nov 12   Louisville  3 (AP/USA Today)  Louisville, KY  69 – 97 (L)

Nov 19   Richmond  –  Richmond, VA    63 – 74 (L) OT

Nov 23   Hartford  –  Mohegan Sun Arena 81 – 78 (W)

Nov 24   Belmont –  Mohegan Sun Arena 75 – 85 (L)


Nov 30   Manhattan –  Mack Sports Complex  59 – 66 (L)

Dec 04   Sacred Heart  –  Mack Sports Complex   59 – 73 (L)

Dec 15   Central Conn. St.- Mack Sports Complex  72 – 67 (W)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *