Quinnipiac (12-8) at Siena (10-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Times Union Center (17,500) -- Albany, New York. Television: TWC. Home Record: Quinnipiac 7-2, Siena 7-2. Away Record: Quinnipiac 4-6, Siena 3-7. Neutral Record: Quinnipiac 1-0, Siena 0-3. Conference Record: Quinnipiac 7-4, Siena 6-5. Series Record: Siena leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams in the middle of the pack in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference square off on Saturday evening, as the Quinnipiac Bobcats and Siena Saints hook up at The Times Union Center.
A chance to knock off the conference leaders slipped through Quinnipiac's paws on Thursday, as the Bobcats dropped an 86-74 decision to Canisius. Quinnipiac was just one game behind the Golden Griffins coming in, but the loss dropped the squad to 7-4 in league play. It also ended the club's five-game home winning streak.
The Bobcats fell despite Zaid Hearst dropping in career-high 33 points and Ousmane Drame returning from a two-game absence. Drame finished with eight points, Ike Azotam added 12 with nine rebounds and Evan Conti chipped in 11 and eight assists, but Quinnipiac never led and allowed Canisius to shoot 51.8 percent from the floor.
Quinnipiac's rebounding margin this season (+12.2) is the nation's best, which helps it score a lofty 77.7 ppg despite shooting only 40.6 percent from the field. Azotam leads the team with 16.4 ppg and is also the nation's third- leading rebounder (11.6 rpg). Drame (12.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg), Hearst (14.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Shaq Shannon (13.7 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers. Shannon missed all seven of his field goal attempts on Thursday, however.
Siena is coming off a tight 66-62 win over Niagara on Thursday. Evan Hymes hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 43 seconds remaining and Marquis Wright converted a huge three-point play after Niagara cut its deficit to one, securing the Saints' third consecutive victory. Rob Poole finished with 15 points for Siena, while Wright and Hymes scored 12 apiece in the win.
Despite matching its opponents shooting efforts from the field this season (.426) and owning a +3.9 rebounding margin, Siena still gets outscored by 2.5 ppg, in part because of its poor showing in the turnover battle (-2.5). It also drains just 4.2 3-pointers per contest. Poole paces the squad in both scoring (15.1 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg), while Hymes (10.2 ppg), Brett Bisping (9.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Lavon Long (8.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg) have also been solid contributors.
Conference newcomer Quinnipiac has never played Siena twice and lost both times. The Saints have lost just twice on their home floor this season and are in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season, which may very well stretch to four in a row on Saturday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Siena 66, Quinnipiac 63
02/01 11:49:22 ET