FACTS & STATS: Site: Hynes Center (2,611) -- New Rochelle, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Siena 4-10, Iona 10-1. Away Record: Siena 2-11, Iona 5-9. Neutral Record: Siena 1-1, Iona 1-3. Conference Record: Siena 4-13, Iona 10-7. Series Record: Iona leads, 52-47.
GAME NOTES: The 100th all-time meeting between the Iona Gaels and the Siena Saints is set to take place on Sunday afternoon at the Hynes Center, as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foes close out the regular season.
For Siena the 2012-13 campaign has been very disappointing, with the team having won a total of just seven games to date. On Friday night the team was taken out by Marist in a 76-74 final, dropping the Saints to just 4-13 in league play, locked into the ninth seed, with the conference tournament just around the corner.
As for the Gaels, who are 7-1 at home against MAAC opponents this season, they can finish anywhere between third and sixth in the conference depending on how all the different scenarios play out this weekend. Also in action two nights ago, Iona snapped a three-game slide by posting a 90-86 victory against Loyola Maryland.
Iona, which can finish anywhere between third and sixth in the standings depending on how the games play out on Sunday, leads the all-time series by a count of 52-47, thanks in part to four wins in the last five encounters. The latest victory came in early January at Siena, 66-62.
The Saints actually led by a point at the break on Friday night when they hosted Marist, but the team then allowed the visitors to knock down 53.8 percent from the floor in the second half which was enough to send Siena to the loss column for the sixth time in the last seven games. Trenity Burdine accounted for a team-best 17 points, O.D. Anosike added 16 and a team-best nine boards, followed by Rob Poole and Davis Martens with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Anosike, who led the nation last season in rebounding, is at it again in 2012-13 as he averages a double-double with 12.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest, but he has not been at his best the entire season. With so much pressure on Anosike to perform, playing more than 37 minutes per game, it is almost impossible for him to carry the load game in and game out, which is one of the reasons why the squad is averaging just 59.6 ppg. Poole (11.5 ppg) and Evan Hymes (10.8 ppg) have shouldered some of the load, but still it primarily falls on the star forward.
After being tied at 36-36 at intermission on Friday night versus the Greyhounds, the floodgates opened up for Iona as the squad shot a staggering 76.0 percent from the field in order to slip by and capture the four-point home win. Lamont Jones erupted for a game-high 35 points, shooting 11-of-15 from the floor, while Taaj Ridley and David Laury added 15 and 14 points, respectively, the latter accounting for eight rebounds and six assists as well. Tre Bowman chipped in 13 points and six boards off the bench in the wild affair.
In conference games, Jones has made himself into a devastating scorer, producing 22.6 ppg as he shoot a modest 43.7 percent from the field. More importantly, Jones gets himself to the free-throw line more than twice as many times as anyone else on the roster, hitting on 120-of-141 over the course of those 17 contests. Sean Armand (16.1 ppg) continues to hang around the perimeter on offense where he is shooting 41.9 percent as he helps push the program to 80.0 ppg.
The Gaels proved on Friday night that they can put together a sizzling offensive attack as good as anyone in the MAAC, and being at home on Sunday doesn't hurt their chances for success either.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iona 77, Siena 66
03/03 10:33:46 ET
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