Siena To Host Illinois State In CBI Semifinal

marquis wright v penn state

The Siena Saints continue their march through the postseason as they play host to Illinois State Wednesday night in the College Basketball Invitational Semifinals. Tip off at the Times Union Center is scheduled for 7 pm. The winner will advance to face the winner of the other semifinal between Fresno State and Old Dominion in the best-of-three CBI championship series, March 31-April 4.

Illinois State enters the matchup with an overall record of 18-15 and 9-9 in the Missouri Valley Conference. They finished in a tie for fourth place in the ten-team league won by Wichita State who finished with a perfect 18-0 league record. Illinois State is 3-10 on the road this season. It will be the first meeting ever between the Saints and the Redbirds.

The Saints moved on to the semifinals after defeating Stony Brook in the opening round and a thrilling 54-52 win over Penn State Monday night. Illinois State advances following a pair of CBI home wins over Morehead State (77-67) and Texas A&M (62-55). Tickets for Wednesday’s matchup go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m. For complete information visit SienaSaints.com

Siena is led by junior Rob Poole who is averaging 14.7 points per game. Sophomore Brett Bisping (10.9 ppg.) has emerged throughout this season and has led the Saints over the last 12 games averaging 14.1 points and 8 rebounds. He averaged just 3.2 points and 2.6 rebounds as a freshman.

Freshman point guard Marquis Wrigt leads the MAAC in assists (5.4) and ranks second in steals (1.7). His 185 assists is the sixth most in a single season at Siena and he ranks tied for 26th all time in career assists in just his first season. He is the first freshman to lead the MAAC in assists in at least 20 years. Wright who injured both his nose and back in Monday’s will play on Wednesday.

Freshman Lavon Long finished with a career-high 17 points Monday night and is third on the team in scoring with 9.6 points per game. He has scored in double figures in 18 games. He along with Wright were named to the All-MAAC Rookie Team.

Like Siena, Illinois State fields a young team with no seniors, 3 juniors, 5 sophomores and 5 freshmen. They are led by 6-1 junior guard Daishon Knight, an All-MVC Honorable Mention and All-Newcomer Team selection who averages 13.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Also averaging in double figures are 6-4 sophomore guard Zach Lofton (11.3) and 5-10 RS junior guard Bobby Hunter (10.6). The Redbirds start 4 guards with 6-10, 253 lb. freshman center Reggie Lynch patrolling the middle. He averages 8.1 points, a team-high 4.8 rebounds and ranks 29th nationally with 2.7 blocks per game. Lofton was suspended for the Redbirds’ two CBI wins and remains suspended for Wednesday’s game.

Illinois State who plays primarily a zone defense, is now 15-4 when holding opponents to less that 70 points. The Redbirds rank 25th nationally in steals per game (7.8). They boast wins over Dayton, DePaul, Southern Illinois, Texas A&M and Northwestern. The Redbirds are 14-18 all time in postseason play.

Siena and Illinois State share two common opponents this season, Manhattan and Vermont. The Redbirds lost at home to Manhattan 79-70 on Nov. 20 and to Vermont 87-76 on Nov. 27 in the University of San Francisco Golden Gate Challenge. The Saints split their regular season series with the Jaspers (L away, 90-68 and W at home, 67-63) and lost at Vermont, 77-66. 

Updated CBI Bracket

Illinois State 2013-2014 Results:


N8 at No. 15 VCU  L, 96-58

N12 DREXEL L, 78-70

N17 at Northwestern W, 68-64

N20 MANHATTAN L, 79-70

N27 vs. Vermont  L, 87-76

N29 vs. Sonoma State  W, 75-58

N30 at San Francisco  W, 90-76



D7 No. 25 DAYTON  W, 81-75

D16 at Oakland L, 90-75


D22 DePAUL  W, 69-64


J2 at Missouri State • L, 78-70 (OT)


J8 at No. 6 Wichita State •  L, 66-47

J11 LOYOLA •  W, 59-50

J15 EVANSVILLE • W, 79-78 (OT)

J18 at Drake •  W, 77-63

J22 No. 4 WICHITA STATE •  L, 70-55

J25 at Indiana State • L, 76-62

J29 at Bradley •  L, 64-45


F1 DRAKE • W, 75-57


F9 at Loyola •  L, 79-69

F12 at Evansville • L, 104-98 (OT)

F15 BRADLEY •  W, 70-54

F18 MISSOURI STATE •  W, 67-63

F23 at Northern Iowa •  L, 72-59

F26 INDIANA STATE • W, 77-59


M1 at Southern Illinois •  L, 66-65

M7 vs. Missouri State  L, 53-48


M24 TEXAS A&M  W, 62-55


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