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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: HP Field House (5,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Siena 1-1, SJU 1-1. Away Record: Siena 1-3, SJU 1-0. Neutral Record: Siena 0-1, SJU 0-1. Conference Record: Siena 0-0, SJU 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 3-3.
GAME NOTES: The Siena Saints and the Saint Joseph's Hawks meet in the consolation round of the Old Spice Classic on Friday night, with the winner moving on to the fifth-place game on Sunday to play either Purdue or Washington State.
Siena's tournament experience has not gone well so far, as it dropped a preliminary matchup with Purdue on the road last Sunday (81-73), and was welcomed to Orlando on Thanksgiving Day with an 87-60 setback against nationally-ranked Memphis. The Saints are now just 2-5 on the season.
Saint Joseph's also has just two wins this season, but it has been less busy than Siena with only four games overall. The Hawks lost a tight battle with nationally-ranked Creighton on Nov. 16, 83-79, and after nearly a two-week break they fell flat in the opening round to LSU, 82-65.
The Hawks won the latest matchup between these teams on New Year's Eve 2010, 58-48, to even the all-time series at 3-3.
The Saints were thoroughly overmatched by Memphis in the opening round, as they were outshot from the field, 52.4 percent to 33.8 percent, and committed 20 turnovers on their way to the 27-point blowout defeat. Their most productive players on the night came off the bench. Brett Bisping tallied a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Evan Hymes had 10 points and five assists.
There hasn't been much to brag about this season for Siena, as it shoots less than 40 percent from the field (including just 27.3 percent from 3-point range) and boasts a lackluster -8.4 scoring margin. Rob Poole is one of the many players struggling from the floor (.382), but he generates enough volume to lead the team in scoring with 14.1 points per game. Hymes (10.7 ppg) is the only other Saint in double figures, while Marquis Wright (7.4 ppg) gets his teammates involved with 5.0 assists per contest.
The long layoff for the Hawks proved to be costly against LSU on Thursday. as they fell behind by 16 points at the half and could never fully recover. They ended with a solid field goal percentage (.446), but they really hurt themselves at the foul line, shooting a dreadful 12-of-26 (.462). Ronald Roberts shined in defeat, as he delivered 21 points on 9-of-13 from the field to go with seven boards and two blocks. Halil Kanacevic scored 12 points and swiped four steals.
On the season, Saint Joseph's scores 74.8 points per game on 46.9 percent field goal shooting, but it nearly allows its opponents to keep pace every step of the way at the other end (72.8 ppg, .468). Roberts (17.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg) is the team's top playmaker in the early going, as he shoots field goals at nearly a 64-percent rate. Langston Galloway (15.8 ppg), DeAndre Bembry (11.3 ppg) and Chris Wilson (9.5 ppg) are all at least 38 percent shooters from 3- point range, while Kanacevic (7.8 ppg) brings 7.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and more than a block and a steal per game to the table.
Saint Joseph's was sluggish coming off its long layoff to play a very good LSU team in the opening round, but assuming it has dusted all the cobwebs off, it's well-rounded starting lineup should be able to do enough damage to dismiss an underwhelming Siena squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Joseph's 78, Siena 68
11/29 10:50:38 ET
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