Saints Win Thriller At Cornell


When Jimmy Patsos took over at Siena, he vowed to make Saints Basketball fun and exciting again. If the last two games are any indication, he is well on his way. For the second time in the last four days, Siena won in thrilling fashion in the closing seconds, this time on an Imoh Silas put back to seal a 71-70 win over Cornell on Friday night.

In the first half, Siena (2-3) never trailed and with just under a minute to go, they led Cornell (0-6) by 11. The Saints hit a rough patch as the Big Red went on a 24-3 run carrying over into the second half to pull ahead 56-46 with 11:54 to go in the game. Cornell would still lead by 10 with less than 4 minutes to go, but the Saints would not quit. Devon Cherry was called for his fifth foul as Evan Hymes drove to the hoop and a protesting Cornell coach Bill Courtney was slapped with a technical foul. Hymes hit all 4 free throws launching the Siena comeback.

Two clear timekeeping errors down the stretch by the clock operator shaved precious seconds from the time remaining. Fortunately it did not cost the Saints in the end.

After a an exchange of baskets, Hymes scored on a difficult shot underneath to pull the Saints within 1 point, 70-69 with :26. Cornell’s Nolan Cressler was then fouled by Rob Poole but missed both free throws giving Siena a chance with 24 seconds remaining. Marquis Wright drove the lane as time ticked away and as the ball rolled off the left side of the rim, Silas rebounded the ball and quickly laid in the game-winner with 6.5 left on the clock. A final Cornell attempt bounced off the rim.

“I just said, ‘you dug a hole, let’s see if you can dig it out’, and they did,” said Patsos.

Silas finished with a double-double and career highs in points (17) and rebounds (14) starting in place of an injured Javion Ogunyemi. Rob Poole came off the bench to score 19 points including 4-7 from 3-point range. Hymes finished with 15 points (8-8 FT), also off the bench and Wright added 12 points with 4 assists and just 1 turnover.

In a reversal of fortune, Siena was whistled for fewer fouls than their opponent (24-29) and outscored Cornell 24-12 from the free throw line. As a team they tallied 12 assists and committed just 8 turnovers.

Cornell was led by Cressler with a game-high 25 points. Cherry added 17 and Dwight Tarwater turned in his own double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. As a team, the connected on 10-23 3-pointers.

“I wanna thank our fans,” said Patsos during a postgame interview. “You should see this crowd. A full bus, they came. Everybody thought it was for the hockey game, but it was our fans. Siena’s an unbelievable place. It’s a great basketball school and they can’t take that away,” he exclaimed as he dropped the headphones and mic to go off and enjoy the victory.

The Saints next head to Purdue on Sunday, in a non-bracketed matchup as part of the Old Spice Classic. The game airs on the Big Ten Network at noon.


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