4GuysinBlazers

Saints Stun Radford in Overtime

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Down by eight with 57 seconds to play, the Saints looked to be headed to their 22nd loss of the season. Playing in their last bracketbuster matchup, a lackluster draw against Big South member Radford, the Saints could not find any traction on offense and were giving little reason for the Times Union Center faithful a reason to believe things would change in the final minute. As some of the crowd of 5,768 began to exit, the Saints finally turned a corner.

Rob Poole, who had not hit a field goal all game, made a move to the basket and made a layup while drawing contact. He converted the free throw to pull the Saints within 5. After a missed Radford free throw, OD Anosike tipped in a Poole miss to pull the Saints within 3. Radford was successful in hitting their next two free throws but Rob Poole answered right back, hitting a big three with 16 seconds remaining to pull the Saints within 2. Siena successfully pressed the ensuing inbound and forced a turnover courtesy of a 5 second violation. Rob Poole missed a jumper with 7 seconds to go, but OD Anosike was fouled on the put back, sending him to the line with a chance to tie with 4.8 seconds remaining. Despite struggles throughout the season from the line, Anosike hit both free throws to pull the Saints even at 54. Radford’s last possession of regulation ended with a Rob Poole steal to send the game to an unlikely overtime session.

Siena and Radford remained close through much of extra time, but 6 points from Davis Martens and 5 from Rob Poole, mostly on free throws, were able to propel the Saints to a 65-57 win.

The Saints played the game without Evan Hymes (ankle), Rakeem Brookins (back), Brett Bisping (skin infection), and Ryan Oliver (knee).

In the absence of Hymes and Brookins, walk-on freshman Chris Leppanen earned his first collegiate start. The freshman seized the opportunity. In a season in which the Saints have, to say the least, struggled with turnovers, Leppanen commited only 2 in 35 minutes of play while contributing 7 assists, 7 points, and two steals. He looked poised handling the offense and, at the least, should have earned himself increased playing time Friday against Marist.

Davis Marten’s also had the best game of his college career. The 6’9″ red-shirt junior had a career high 18 point and career-high tying 9 rebound in 29 minutes off the bench. Martens hit two long jumpers and was aggressive around the basket. His contributions were key in filling in for OD Anosike who was forced to the bench with 4 fouls in the second half, and fouled out in overtime.

Radford double-teamed Anosike for much of the game, frustrating the Saints senior big-man. OD struggled from the field, shooting 3-13, while missing several layups, and committing a team high 8 turnovers. Despite his struggles, Anosike hit the key free throws when they mattered and finished with a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds in 38 minutes.

Rob Poole continued his struggles from the floor, shooting 2-14, with both shots coming in that critical last minute comeback. He was short on several shots, and was 7-12 from the free throw line. He finished with 12 points.

Trenity Burdine also reached double figures for the Saints, adding 13 points on 4-6 shooting.

The Saints next game is Friday, March 1, vs Marist at the Times Union Center. The game is the last regular season contest for the Saints at the Times Union Center. OD Anosike, the lone senior on this year’s squad, will be honored before the game.

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