Siena set to take on Matadors

Siena has traveled to the West Coast to take on Cal State Northridge in the first of three games they will play as a part of NUCDF Challenge. This is the first time since 2009 that the Saints will participate in an in-season tournament, and their first game in California since a season opening loss to Stanford in 2006.

Northridge runs an up-tempo offense which has been clicking to start the season. Averaging a healthy 83.7 ppg, the team is off to a fast 3-0 start with wins over Pepperdine, Eastern Washington, San Diego (74-71 last night). Siena on the other hand has struggled on the offensive end, averaging 53.5 ppg in a more grinding offensive scheme. The attack has been hindered by the loss of Rakeem Brookins as he serves a three game team suspension. Tonight will be the third and final game of that suspension. The team’s offensive output is their lowest to begin the season since 1983 when the team scored 103 points through two games against St John’s and Rhode Island.

On the defensive end the Saints have excelled, holding Vermont to 54 points and Navy to 49 in a game that went into overtime. That point total is the lowest the Saints have allowed through two game since 1962. Not surprisingly given the speed of their offense, Northridge has not faired as well on the defensive end with opponents averaging 75 ppg. Teams are shooting 44.1% against Northridge compared to 33% vs the Saints.

Like the Saints, Northridge is a young team with seven freshman and seven sophmores on the roster. In terms of playing experience, the Matadors are the most inexperienced team in the nation, averaging only .65 years of experience per player. The Saints, meanwhile, are the eighth least experienced team in the nation.

While the Saints have struggled at the free throw line this season, the Matadors have excelled. Last season the team led the Big West Conference from the line, shooting a school record 75.5%. The team’s success has carried over into this season, shooting 62-75, a conversion rate of 82.66%. Conversely the Saints have shot 26-46 (56.5%) from the charity stripe.

Key Players for the Matadors include:

Stephan Hicks: A sophomore guard, Hicks is averaging a team high 18ppg on 63.3% shooting. He also leads the team in rebounding with 7.7 a game.

Josh Greene: One of three juniors on the team, Greene averages 10.3 points and 5.7 assists per game while leading the Matadors attack from the point.

Stephen Maxwell: A sophomore forward, Maxwell co-leads the team in rebounding with Hicks, averaging 7.7 a game. Maxwell is a scoring threat as well, averaging 16.7 points per game on 55.9% shooting.

Tonight’s game tips at 7pm Eastern and can be heard on 1300 AM.

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