SIena Plays With Confidence To Beat Niagara

evan hymes

Siena found what it has been looking for, for some time and used it to their advantage on Thursday as they beat Niagara, 67-52 in the First Round of the MAAC Tournament. The key was confidence, and for those in attendance it was apparent early on that the Saints had it as they marched on to the MAAC Quarterfinals on Saturday to face league leader Iona.

“The one word we wrote up on the board was ‘confidence’,” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos. “It’s time to have confidence. I’ve been going to some high school games lately and I’ve been mentioning to our guys that, you were there. You made free throws. You made open jumpers. Just be the guy you were coming out of high school.”

In the first half, Niagara opened the scoring with a lay in by Dominique Reid. Siena answered with an 8-0 run and they would never trail the rest of the way. The Saints outrebounded the Purple Eagles 22-11 in the first 20 minutes and hit 5 three pointers that helped them to carry a 34-22 lead into the break.

Senior Evan Hymes launched a 14-6 run for Siena to start the second half while scoring 8 of his team-high 14 points. The Saints led by 21 points, 49-28 with 16:11 to go and the game was in hand as they led by double digits the rest of the way.

The Saints continued to play well defensively holding Niagara to just 20-50 (40%) shooting from the field overall and just 1-11 (9.1%) from three point range. Siena scored 13 points off of 14 Niagara turnovers.

Offensively, Siena was much more effective shooting 29-58 (50%) from the field including 7 made three-pointers. They scored 15 second chance points off of 10 offensive rebounds.

Hymes added 5 steals and 3 rebounds to his 14 points for Siena (11-19).

“Coach Patsos told me, this could possibly be my last college game of my career,” said Hymes. “I definitely took that to heart and Coach made sure I was fired up. That’s one of the things I need to do is be that energy guy for the team and for the young guys.”

Ryan Oliver was quite effective scoring 13 points that included some key pull up jumpers and added 6 rebounds.

“It’s a new season, the postseason,” said Oliver. “Everything that happened in the past is over with. You’ve got to take it one game at a time and give it your all.”

Marquis Wright played another solid all around game scoring 11 points with 6 assists, 3 rebounds and zero turnovers. Lavon Long tallied 10 points with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal. Javion Ogunyemi had 8 points with 6 boards.

Rob Poole who has been hampered with an ankle injury scored 8 points in 31 minutes for Siena but coach Jimmy Patsos indicated after the game that he was unsure if Poole would play on Saturday.

Reid finished with a game-high 24 points and 9 rebounds for Niagara who finishes their season 8-22. Emile Blackman added 13 points.

With the win, Siena extends its postseason win streak at the Times Union Center to 13 games. They advance to the quarterfinals for the 25th time in their 26 years in the MAAC. They take on the Iona Gaels on Saturday with a tip off scheduled for noon.

Official attendance for tonight’s evening session featuring 3 men’s First Round Games, 4,062

For more Postgame Comments, click here: Postgame Comments Following Siena MAAC Tourney Win Over Niagara

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