FACTS & STATS: Site: Times Union Center (15,229) -- Albany, New York. Television: TWCSN. Home Record: Saint Peter's 3-5, Siena 1-6. Away Record: Saint Peter's 3-3, Siena 1-6. Neutral Record: Saint Peter's 0-1, Siena 1-1. Conference Record: Saint Peter's 1-4, Siena 1-4. Series Record: Saint Peter's leads, 42-36.
GAME NOTES: Shooting for back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the Siena Saints take the floor at the Times Union Center on Sunday afternoon to face off against the Saint Peter's Peacocks in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action.
Prior to Friday night, the Saints had won just two games in 15 opportunities, but somehow the squad managed to snap an 11-game slide with a narrow 57-54 victory over Canisius at home. It was the first league win in five tries for the Saints who are tied with Saint Peter's and Marist for last place in the conference standings.
Meanwhile, the Peacocks have hit a bit of a skid as they deal with a three- game slide and defeats in four of the last five outings overall. Also in action two nights ago, Saint Peter's went up against Niagara and was crushed by the Purple Eagles in a 77-58 final.
In terms of the all-time series between these two schools, the Peacocks are ahead by a count of 42-36, their four-game win streak over Siena being the longest for any member of the MAAC. Saint Peter's is scheduled to host the Saints on Feb. 10.
The Peacocks opened up a seven-point lead over Niagara in the first half two nights ago, but after 20 minutes of action there was a 19-point swing and the hosts were never able to recover. Chris Burke made good on 5-of-7 shots from 3-point range as he finished with a team-best 17 points, followed by Patrick Jackson and Desi Washington with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Saint Peter's finished the night shooting a mere 1-of-5 at the free-throw line. While that sounds like a very poor effort by the squad, and it is, you have to remember that this is a group that is averaging just slightly better than 10 free throws made per game and has a mere 58.5 percent accuracy at the charity stripe over 15 outings. Washington (15.3 ppg) has done more than his share of trying to pick the team up in that department with his 89.2 percent shooting, but Yvon Raymond (10.3 ppg) is quick to take them right back down with his 58.9 percent.
Not only is the recent win by Siena a remarkable feat, given how poorly the Saints have performed this season, they were able to accomplish it while O.D. Anosike was held to just a single made field goal for the second straight game. A double-double machine, Anosike finished with just nine points and seven rebounds as he played all 40 minutes for the hosts. Taking the scoring lead for the Saints was Evan Hymes who tallied 20 points on 4-of-6 shooting behind the 3-point line, followed by Rakeem Brookins with 13 points as the team survived despite shooting only 10-of-19 at the free-throw line. One of the most aggressive rebounders in the nation, Anosike is averaging 12.8 ppg and 12.2 rpg, making him again one of only a handful of players who is averaging a double-double, although in the last two outings he's been off his game a bit. Rob Poole (12.7 ppg), Brookins (12.0 ppg) and Hymes (11.1 ppg) are trying to help share the load.
The fact that Siena was able to pull off a win with Anosike coming up small is rather remarkable, so if he's able to return to form there's a good chance the Saints might be able to work their way into the win column yet again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Siena 63, Saint Peter's 59
01/13 10:30:10 ET
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