Saints Miss Opportunity In OT Loss To Canisius

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Despite a career-high 23-point performance by junior Ryan Oliver, Siena was unable to make the key plays down the stretch as they dropped a 69-63 decsison to Canisius in overtime.

“It was a great basketball game,” Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. “Great performances on both ends. “I’ve said all along it’s about winning, but it’s also about how you play. We played tough, it was a great effort. We made a lot of progress today. I really think that our kids aren’t quitting.”

Canisius got off to a strong start quickly opening up a 14-4 lead as the Saints appeared to struggling on both ends of the floor. The home team would bounce back however and evened the score going into half time, 29-29.

Things were tight throughout the second half and with the Saints trailing by two points, Oliver hit a jumper with 2:43 to go in regulation to tie the game for the sixth time, 54-54. Oliver stole the ball on the Griffs next possession and after a Siena offensive rebound, he nailed a three with 1:24 to go. Canisius’ Jeremiah Williams answered with a three of his own at the 1:11 mark to tie it once again and both teams came up empty on their next possessions sending the game to overtime.

The teams were even for much of the overtime session and with the score tied at 63 and the shot clock running down, Javion Ogunyemi blocked a Josiah Heath jumper on the baseline sending the ball out of bounds with 2 ticks left on the 35 second clock. After a 30 second time out, Canisius inbounded the ball to an open Kassius Robertson who nailed a crushing baseline jumper to give the Griffs a 65-63 lead with 1:07 to go.

Siena missed their final three shots and Canisius made their final four free throws to hand the Saints a heart-breaking loss. Had the Saints (10-16, 7-10) pulled out the win they would have moved into a three-way tie for the all important 5th place in the conference. Now they are all but certain to finish in the bottom six in the league missing out on a potential first round bye in the MAAC Tournament. Another Saints loss or Canisius win would make it official.

Oliver’s 23 points came on 7-10 shooting from the field overall and 4-6 from three-point range. He also added 5 rebounds.

“Ryan is really fighting for his spot,” Patsos said. “That was a statement. It wasn’t just shots, he was rebounding. That was a big game. When he’s good, were good.”

Javion Ogunyemi finished with 12 points and Marquis Wright also scored 12 points to go along with his 8 assists and 3 steals.

Oliver, Ogunyemi and Wright combined for 47 points and made 18-31 field goals. The rest of the team had 16 points and shot 6-22 from the field. Rob Poole was held to just 6 points on 2-11 shooting.

Lavon Long was kept out of the lineup for the first 8 minutes on the game for being 8 minutes late for shoot around earlier in the day after oversleeping. He finished with 2 points and 4 fouls in 22 minutes of play.

Four players finished in double figures for Canisius (14-12, 9-8). Williams led the way with 18 points hitting 5-6 three-pointers. Heath scored 14 points and grabbed 9 rebounds and Robertson and Kevin Bleeker each added 12.

“We competed, we just came up empty,” Patsos said. “I’m not going to tell a bunch of 18 to 22-year-olds who competed that hard they’re losers.”

The Saints host defending champion Manhattan on Saturday in the final regular season home game of the season. Rob Poole and Evan Hymes will be honored before tip-off in a Senior Night ceremony. 


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