4GuysinBlazers

Siena Blasts Quinnipiac In MAAC Opener

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After a couple of disappointing early season losses, Siena coach Jimmy Patsos challenged his team to play more physical and with more emotion. On Friday night they did just that, as they blasted Quinnipiac, 88-69 in their MAAC opener at the Times Union Center. A crowd of 6,046, featuring an energetic student section, provided the perfect backdrop for the Saints to return to form as one of the top level teams in the MAAC.

“Our students, I thought they energized us. I really did,” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos. “It was a learning day. Our team is growing. The players get all the credit and their fellow student body. I can’t thank them enough. The fans were great. I thought we played with a lot of energy against a really good team.”

After the loss at Fordham, where Siena’s Marquis Wright scored 31 points and no other Saints player finished in double figures, Siena needed to return to a more balanced attack. Against Quinnipiac, five players scored in double figures led by Wright with 17 points.

The game was closely contested throughout the first half with aggressive play on both ends and tempers flaring on more than one occasion. There were 4 lead changes and 6 tied scores and neither team led by more than six points. Siena outshot the Bobcats 50% to 39% and took a 40-38 lead into the break.

Siena returned for the second half firing on all cylinders. They outscored Quinnipiac 25-6 in the first eight and a half minutes to build a 21-point, 65-44 lead. Quinnipiac then went on a 14-3 run of their own to cut the margin to ten,  68-58 with just under 8 minutes to go. But, it would get no closer as the Saints pulled away for the 21-point win.

Wright was fantastic scoring his 17 points on 6-10 shooting while adding 4 rebounds, 6 assists (0 turnovers) and 3 steals.

“I felt like we were ready to play,” said Wright. “I came out strong and I think I led my team to a win today. My team followed me and we all worked together. It was a great feeling. The crowd was into it, we were into it, the coaches, everybody.

After sitting with 2 fouls and playing just 4 minutes in the first half, Lavon Long was on fire in the second half. He contributed in all facets and fueled the game-changing Siena run, scoring 11 points on 4-8 shooting, along with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. All but one assist came in the game’s final 20 minutes.

“Lavon Long in the second half was incredible,” said Patsos. “He stat stuffed all over the place. I wanted to get him going. Regardless of who was guarding him, I wanted to give him the ball. He‘s tough inside. Lavon’s a really trick guy to guard cause he’ll do lots of things.”

“I sat out most of the 1st half so I had a lot of energy,” Long said. “My team was playing hard so I knew I had to match that level of intensity and not be the weak link on the floor and come out and play my best.”

Freshman Willem Brandwijk gave a huge lift off the bench scoring 12 points on 4-4 shooting, including 2-2 from three-point range. Two of his points came on the play of the game, a spectacular alley-oop dunk on a fast break feed from Wright that ignited the crowd with 11:34 to go.

Javion  Ogunyemi had his game of the season, returning to the starting lineup, and scoring 11 points shooting 5-9 from the field, with 5 rebounds. He was also solid defensively helping to hold Quinnipiac’s Ousmane Drame to just 8 points and 7 rebounds (9 points and 4 boards below his average).

“Everyone who’s familiar with our conference say he’s the best big in the league,” said Ogunyemi on Drame. “He’s very strong and very skilled. All I tried to do was make him work. My teammates and I did a good job of digging in and frustrating him.”

Rob Poole finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

Zaid Hearst led Quinnipiac (3-3, 0-1) with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Kasim Chandler added 14 points and 6 assists.

Siena outrebounded the Bobcats, the nation’s second leading team in rebounding margin (+16.4 entering the game), in the second half, 21-14. On the night, Quinnipiac edged the Saints on the boards 37-34.

Siena bested QU in points in the paint, 44-14, points off turnovers, 21-8, 2nd chance points, 18-8 and fast break points, 11-2.

Bisping exited the game with eight minutes to go with a dislocated toe and will need further evaluation to determine a timetable for his return.

The Saints (3-3, 1-0) head on the road to take on Rider (3-5, 0-0) on Sunday. Tip off is at 2 p.m.

Click Here for more: Postgame Reactions

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  1. Pingback: Postgame Reactions Following Siena Win Over Quinnipiac | 4GuysinBlazers

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