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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 1, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Times Union Center (8,444) -- Albany, New York. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Manhattan 3-3, Siena 2-7. Away Record: Manhattan 3-9, Siena 2-8. Neutral Record: Manhattan 0-2, Siena 1-1. Conference Record: Manhattan 4-6, Siena 3-7. Series Record: Manhattan leads, 48-38.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference bottom-dwellars square off on Friday night, as the Siena Saints entertain the Manhattan Jaspers at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Coming into is latest game, Manhattan had lost three in a row and five of its previous six, but it was able to snap out of that funk with a 62-51 win at Rider last Sunday to improve to 4-6 in MAAC action. Despite the recent victory, the Jaspers are still just 3-9 away from home this season.
Siena has been one of the few teams in the MAAC worse than Manhattan, and thanks in large part to an 11-game losing streak earlier this season, it currently sits at just 5-16 overall. The Saints recently snapped a three-game skid however, with a 79-75 road win over Marist last Sunday to improve to 3-7 in league play.
Manhattan has a 48-38 advantage in the all-time series with Siena, which includes a 75-55 triumph in the first meeting this season on Dec. 9, 2012.
The Jaspers were able to roll to a double-digit victory last weekend by outshooting Rider from the field, 52.6 percent to 39.6 percent, and by holding a firm advantage in the rebounding battle, 33-21. Shane Richards was a difference-maker in 23 minutes off the bench, shooting 7-of-8 from the field with four 3-pointers for a career-high 19 points. Rhamel Brown was a force in the paint, logging 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in the win. Despite boasting a solid average yield (63.1 ppg), Manhattan hasn't been able to support its strong defensive effort with a quality offense, as it ranks last in the MAAC in scoring (57.7 ppg). Brown is not only the team's leading scorer at 11.4 ppg and rebounder with 6.9 rpg, but he is the league's premier interior defender with 2.8 bpg and 1.3 spg. Richards averages just 7.5 ppg on the season, but he has improved his play in recent weeks, averaging 12.0 ppg in 11 games since Dec. 22.
Siena closed out the first half of its bout with Marist last weekend on a 20-6 run to take an eight-point lead at intermission, and it never looked back. The Saints shot nearly 55 percent from the floor in the triumph, while converting 17-of-23 from the foul line. O.D. Anosike logged his 13th double-double of the season in dominant fashion, scoring 20 points and ripping down 21 rebounds while also adding five assists, two blocks and two steals to his impressive stat line. Evan Hymes was also outstanding with 21 points and five assists, while Trenity Burdine (13 points), Rakeem Brookins (12 points), and Rob Poole (11 points) helped out in the team's best offensive performance of the season. The Saints are typically poor at the offensive end of the court, as only Manhattan scores less than their 59.4 ppg in the MAAC. Anosike leads the team with 13.1 ppg on 52.6 percent field goal efficiency. In addition to his scoring prowess, the 6-foot-8 senior is the nation's leading rebounder with 12.0 rpg. Poole (12.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Hymes (12.0 ppg, 3.8 apg) have combined for 78 3-pointers, while Brookins brings 11.7 ppg to the table.
Siena has overcome some injuries and suspensions to key players, and now appears to be the healthiest its been all season. Riding the momentum of their hot-shooting the last time out, the Saints should be able to run past the Jaspers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Siena 68, Manhattan 61
02/01 10:30:47 ET