Saints Score Big Road Win Over Quinnipiac

marquis wright

Down by as many 10 in the first half, Siena gutted out a huge road victory Thursday night, downing Quinnipiac 72-70. The win greatly advances the Saints’ chances of securing the five seed in the MAAC tournament and the first round bye that goes with it.

“Tough, resilient. Just a gutty win. It was a team effort.” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos

Quinnipiac came out swinging tonight, jumping out to an early lead courtesy of a decisive early rebounding edge. The game began to turn after a rare first half entry for Steven Cruz. Cruz secured a rebound and led the Saints on a 5-0 run while playing the point. Siena continued to chip into the lead and entered the locker room down only 34-33.

“Cruz was my call because we’ve been getting him ready cause he’s gonna start on Sunday,” said Patsos. “I thought we needed a little energy. If Steven Cruz’s not gonna motivate you, you’re not gonna be motivated. He just works so hard.”

The second half was played in a fashion Saints fans have become accustomed, a close hard-fought see-saw battle. Quinnipiac took a 3 point lead,69-66 on a Zaid Hearst three-pointer with 49 seconds remaining. Lavon Long answered with a drive to the basket on which he was fouled. Long hit the first and missed the second, leading to a Rob Poole offensive rebound. Poole put the ball back up, hitting the shot and drawing a foul. Poole sunk the free throw to put the Saints up one with 33 seconds left.

“I saw the ball come straight off the front,” described Poole. “I just went up and it was probably the only rebound he missed all game. So, a little luck on us and I threw it back up with my left hand and it went in.”

Quinnipiac settled for a three point attempt on the other end which was missed. Lavon Long was fouled following the rebound and sunk both free throws to extend the Saints lead to 72-69. Imoh Silas then fouled Justin Harris with 1.8 seconds left. Harris missed the first shot but hit the second. Lavon Long sent the ensuing inbound past half court to seal the Saints victory.

Brett Bisping had a double-double in the win with 14 points and 10 rebounds, 8 of which came in the second half. Rob Poole led all Saints scoters with 15 points, pulling within 3 of 1,000 points for his career. Lavon Long had yet another gutty performance, scoring 13, and Ryan Oliver continued his emergence with 11 points and 5 rebounds off the bench.

“Those guys are huge but our guys are tough, said Siena assistant coach Lucious Jordan. “They’re fighting and we’re playing well at the right time of the season. This is a great win. Now we have to refocus and come out and get a good win on Sunday.”

Ike Azotam (15 points and 12 rebounds) and Ousmane Drame (12 points and 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for Quinnipiac.

Siena can clinch the five seed in the MAAC tournament with a win Sunday. They could clinch the spot as early as Friday night with loses by both Marist and Rider.

Rider can only clinch the five seed by finishing the season 2-0 combined with a Siena loss on Sunday.

Marist can only clinch the five seed by finishing 2-0, Rider finishing 0-2, Siena losing on Sunday, AND Canisius finishing with ahead of Manhattan in the MAAC standings.

Siena concludes their regular season schedule on Sunday vs Monmouth at the Times Union Center at 2pm. Senior Steven Cruz will be honored before the game and make his first career start.

For more postgame comments from Siena Head Coach Jimmy Patsos, Rob Poole and Assistant Coach Lucious Jordan, Click Here

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