Saints Look to Continue Streak vs Iona


The Saints will look to continue their winning ways at home when they take on the Iona Gaels Sunday at 2 pm.

Siena enters the contest winners of their last five at the Times Union Center. Their latest victory came against MAAC rival Marist, 67-58, on Friday night to move the Saints record to 7-9 overall and 3-2 in MAAC play. A win on Sunday would match the Saints overall and conference win totals from last season.

Siena has gotten strong play of late from sophmore Brett Bisping. The 6’8″ sophomore has set career highs in points (20) and rebounds (14) over the last two games in which he has averaged 18 points and 10.5 rebounds. He has now reached double figures in scoring in nine of the last thirteen games after reaching the mark only once in the first 28 games of his career.

“It’s on to the next one,” said Bisping. “That’s how it works, quick turnaround is part of basketball especially this time of year when it starts to pick up. But, we’ll be ready. It’s gonna be fun.”

Marquis Wright  has also been a staple for the Saints. The true-freshman point guard leads the MAAC in assists (5.7) and steals (2.2) while averaging 7.8 assists per game in the Saints five MAAC contests.

Opponents have struggled from the floor against the Saints at the Times Union Center. Visitors are shooting just 37% from the field and 25% from three-point range. Siena will need to see that trend continue as the Gaels come to town. Iona is averaging 82.5 points per game (22nd in the nation) and are shooting 48% from the field over the season.

Siena meanwhile has begun to heat up from the floor as the season and games have worn on. Rob Poole is shooting 49% from three point range over the last nine games. In that same span the team has shot 47% from the field in the second half of games.

The Gaels are entering the game fresh off of an 84-75 win over Fairfield on Friday night. That game saw Sean Armand, who leads the Gaels with 19.1 ppg, score only two points on 0-5 shooting. The Gaels also received scares with injuries to F David Laury (13.2 ppg 7.4 rpg) and G Tavon Sledge (3.6 ppg off the bench). Both players are expected to play on Sunday.

“The first thing we have to do against Iona is sprint back on defense,” said Evan Hymes. “We don’t want to give up any easy points. We need to talk on defense, communicate and just continue to play hard.”

Laury being able to play is important for an Iona team that has struggled inside. The team is averaging 32 rebounds per game, 310th in the nation. In Iona’s loss to Quinnipiac they were outrebounded 50-27, giving up 20 offensive boards. Similarly they were beaten on the boards 40-27 in their recent victory over Fairfield. This will be a marked advantage for a Saints team that has been out-rebounded only once in their last twelve games. Siena enters the game second in rebounding margin, trailing only Quinnipiac.

Iona has won the last two contests against the Saints, sweeping the season series last season for the first time since the 1996-97 season. The Gaels win at the Times Union Center last season was impressive for two reasons. The team is 2-11 at the TUC since the 2000-2001 and the Gaels needed an 11-0 second half run to erase a 10 point half time deficit to win 66-62.


Iona Gaels 2013-2014 Results

Sat, Nov 09   Cleveland State  Cleveland, OH   69 – 73 (L)

Sat, Nov 16   Wofford  New Rochelle, NY     76 – 55 (W)

Tue, Nov 19   No. 2/3 Kansas  Lawrence, KS   66 – 86 (L)

Sat, Nov 23   George Mason  New Rochelle, NY    89 – 73 (W)

Sun, Dec 01   Florida Gulf Coast  Fort Myers, FL     90 – 72 (W)

Wed, Dec 04   Marist *  New Rochelle, NY     83 – 74 (W)

Sun, Dec 08   Fairfield *  Bridgeport, CT      83 – 72 (W)

Sat, Dec 14   St. Bonaventure  New Rochelle, NY  89 – 102 (L)

Thu, Dec 19   Dayton  Dayton, OH    84 – 96 (L)

Sun, Dec 22   Nevada  Reno, NV     72 – 80 (L)

Sat, Dec 28   Northern Iowa  Cedar Falls, IA     78 – 90 (L)

Sat, Jan 04   Niagara *  New Rochelle, NY   118 – 92 (W)

Mon, Jan 06   Quinnipiac *  Hamden, CT   74 – 86 (L)

Fri, Jan 10   Fairfield *  New Rochelle, NY    84 – 75 (W)

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