Siena Stymies Rider In 4th Straight Home Win

bisping and jimmy

With a tremendous defensive effort and a stand out shooting performance from Brett Bisping, Siena downed Rider, 62-47 for their fourth straight home win Saturday night in front of a crowd of 6,180 at the Times Union Center.

After being snowed in following Thursday’s loss at Monmouth, Siena (6-9, 2-2) was forced to return to Loudonville a day late and go through a brief practice on Friday implementing a game plan based on the scout from assistant coach Luke D’Alessio. The plan worked to perfection as the Saints were able to stymie Rider’s high-scoring offense, which had previously averaged 80.8 ppg., to a mere 47 points. It was the fewest points scored by a Siena opponent in six years.

“I give a lot of credit to Luke D’Alessio, my assistant,” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos. “He only had one day to put that in and we were on the bus. But Luke was ready to go and he just kept stressing this is the best 3-point shooting team in the country and to hold them to 27 percent. It wasn’t me. It’s the players, but Luke D’Alessio did a great job saying hey, take away their 3s, and then no long rebounds.”

To say the game got off to a slow start would be an understatement. Neither team scored until over 2 and a half minutes had passed and Rob Poole hit a 3-pointer to break the ice. Rider missed their first 12 field goals and with 10:40 to go in the first half Ryan Oliver drilled another three and the Saints led by 10, 11-1. The Broncs crawled back however and an Anthony Myles three closed the gap to 25-23 at the half.

“I thought our team was ready to play,” Patsos said. “We had a little chat at halftime about at some point, it has to come from within the players. Like I can be nice, yell, throw things, hug people, whatever. I said at halftime we’re up two that’s a good thing, but do you want to finish it?”

Siena hit their first four shots of the second half sparking a 10-2 run which opened the lead back to double digits, 35-25 with 17:06 to go. They continued their hot shooting the rest of the way hitting 14-21 from the field (66.7%) including 5-8 (62.5%) from three in the second half.

Siena utilized their size to extend an effective zone defense, challenging Rider who entered the game as the nation’s leading three-point shooting team (43.5%). The Broncs converted just 5 of 18 (27.8%) three-pointers including 2-9 (22.2%) in the second half.

“Poole’s long. Ryan Oliver’s long. That’s why I wanted Javion out there. Wolfe’s long,” Patsos said. “At least they can’t just sight the target. That’s why we kinda played extended zone.”

With the win the Saints even their conference record at 2-2 placing them in sixth place of the 11-team MAAC.

Bisping scored a career-high 20 points shooting 7-9 from the field, including 3-3 from beyond the arc all in the second half. He also added 7 rebounds.

“I got the job and Brett said he’s from Illinois and I’m like great who’s your favorite player. ‘Michael Jordan’. I said no it’s Bill Laimbeer from now on. Meanwhile, the guy’s turning into Bill Laimbeer. He’s a smart, great kid, hard worker, a little feisty down there. But, he can make shots. We had a little chat today and I said remember Bill Laimbeer. He’s learning. Brett saved us tonight.”

Rob Poole added 12 points and 4 rebounds. Imoh Silas turned in a solid all-around performance with 6 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocked shots. Marquis Wright tallied 5 points, 5 assists and 3 steals and Lavon Long had 4 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

Myles led all scorers with 21 points for the Broncs who were handed their first MAAC loss of the season (7-6, 3-1). Daniel Stewart and Zedric Sadler were next with just six points each for Rider.

Siena continues their home stand next weekend taking on Marist on Friday night in the second game of a double-header with the women who face Niagara at 5 p.m. They then face Iona Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Postgame comments from Jimmy Patsos, Brett Bisping, Imoh Silas and Rider coach Kevin Baggett: Click here

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