Siena (8-23) vs. Niagara (18-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 2:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: MassMutual Center (7,552) -- Springfield, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Siena 4-10, Niagara 11-4. Away Record: Siena 2-12, Niagara 7-7. Neutral Record: Siena 2-1, Niagara 0-1. Conference Record: Siena 4-14, Niagara 13-5. Series Record: Niagara leads, 46-43.
GAME NOTES: The quarterfinals of the 32nd annual Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament gets underway on Saturday afternoon, as the top-seeded Niagara Purple Eagles take on the Siena Saints at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
Last night, the ninth-seeded Saints took care of Marist during the first round of the tournament with a 70-64 triumph. The victory moved Siena to 6-0 all- time against the Red Foxes in the conference tournament.
As for the Purple Eagles, winners of this event two times already, they have a record of .500 in the tournament all-time at 21-21. Niagara took part in the championship game as recently as 2009, but has not won it since 2007 when it slipped by Siena, 83-79.
With respect to the 2012-13 regular season, Niagara was strong early on in the conference schedule and then managed to close out well with four wins in the last five outings overall. The team finished just ahead of both Loyola- Maryland and Rider in the standings.
Niagara won both regular-season meetings between the squads by a combined 32 points in a span of just eight days, which means the all-time series now stands at 46-43 in favor of the Purple Eagles.
The winner of this meeting will be back in action on Sunday afternoon in the semifinals versus the survivor of the Canisius/Iona battle for the right to compete in the title game on Monday night.
O.D. Anosike registered a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Siena Saints captured a six-point win over the Marist Red Foxes during the first round of the tournament on Friday. Anosike, who shot 9-of-21 from the floor, also added five assists and two blocked shots for the ninth-seeded Saints. Also scoring in double figures for Siena were Rob Poole and Davis Martens with 19 and 10 points, respectively, as the pair combined to shoot 6- of-8 behind the 3-point line.
While he hasn't been beating up opponents in the paint all that much lately, Anosike still demonstrated the kind of play last night that made him the top rebounder in the nation a season ago. Playing in excess of 37 minutes per game, Anosike continues to lead the Saints in both scoring and rebounding with averages of 13.3 ppg and 11.4 rpg.
Driving the Purple Eagles may be the top tandem in the league at this stage in Antoine Mason (18.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and Juan'ya Green (17.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg), the latter leaving it all out on the floor as he plays just under 38 minutes per contest which is just incredible. Both players were named to the All-MAAC First Team, with Green quite possibly having the inside track on being named the conference player of the year as well, seeing as how he augmented his scoring and rebounding by accounting for 151 of his team's 387 assists and coming up with a team-best 56 steals as well.
The question for this game will be whether or not Anosike can find the energy and strength to head right back out on the hardwood and battle in the paint the way everyone knows he can. If the answer is yes then perhaps the Saints have a shot at the upset.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Niagara 73, Siena 63
03/09 10:36:26 ET