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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 4, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Times Union Center (15,229) -- Albany, New York. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Iona 4-0, Siena 0-5. Away Record: Iona 2-3, Siena 1-5. Neutral Record: Iona 1-3, Siena 1-1. Conference Record: Iona 1-1, Siena 0-2. Series Record: Iona leads, 51-47.
GAME NOTES: The Siena Saints will try to defend their home court successfully for the first time this season on Friday night, as they play host to the Iona Gaels in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference showdown.
Iona climbed back over the .500 mark on New Year's Eve when it when on the road to complete a 93-74 rout of St. Bonaventure. Coach Tim Cluess has to be optimistic about his team's chances after it hit 52.5 percent of its field goal attempts, including 13-of-27 from beyond the arc to power past the Bonnies. The Gaels have yet to find much momentum this season, as they have won back-to-back games just once.
The Saints began the 2012-13 season with a 2-2 record, but they have been unable to pick up another victory in nine games since their last triumph. Siena was no match for La Salle the last time out, as the Explorers left the Times Union Center with an 80-52 win. The team is still without a victory at home after five appearances.
This will be the 99th meeting in history between these Empire State rivals. Iona leads the all-time series 51-47 after splitting the season series last year. Iona and Siena are two of the eight teams in the MAAC tied for second in the standings with a 1-1 record.
The Gaels are scorching the nets this season to the tune of a league-leading 82.8 ppg on 45.8 percent shooting from the field. Iona showed its team chemistry the last time out by assisting on 21 of its 31 makes from the floor. Although Lamont Jones is the fourth leading scorer in the nation with 22.5 ppg, it was teammate Sean Armand who tallied a game-high 27 points with the help of seven makes from beyond the arc. Armand is ranked second behind only Jones in the MAAC in scoring with his 19.3 ppg average. Sophomore forward David Laury have been on a tear the past four games as he is producing 18.8 points and 10.8 boards per outing over the span.
Siena was overmatched by La Salle and managed to make just 33.3 percent of its field goal attempts while the Explorers coasted to the victory with makes on 13-of-28 attempts from 3-point range. O.D. Anosike, who led the nation in rebounding last season (12.5 rpg), recorded his third double-double in four games with 14 points and 16 boards. Rakeem Brookins, who is pacing the team with 13.4 ppg, tallied just 10 against the Explorers. The Saints have struggled at the offensive end recently as they have been held to 56 points or less in five of their last six appearances.
Siena should be able to produce a little more at the offensive end against the defensively weak Gaels, but Iona's high-powered attack will be too much for the hosts to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iona 76, Siena 63
01/04 10:31:41 ET
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