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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 23, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Times Union Center (8,444) -- Albany, New York. Television: TWC Sports. Home Record: Hofstra 2-3, Siena 1-1. Away Record: Hofstra 0-2, Siena 2-4. Neutral Record: Hofstra 1-1, Siena 0-3. Conference Record: Hofstra 0-0, Siena 1-1. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: The hobbled Siena Saints will go up against the Hofstra Pride in a non-conference, intrastate matchup at the Times Union Center on Monday night.
The Pride have been off since last Sunday when they got past Central Connecticut State, 72-67. The win ended a three-game losing streak for Hofstra, which is still just 3-6 overall and winless in two tries on the road. Following a break for the holiday, the Pride return to action this Saturday against George Washington.
Leading scorer Rob Poole is suffering from an intestinal infection and Javion Ogunyemi is questionable with a sprained ankle. Losing any contributors at all will not help Siena, which has lost five of its last six and is just 3-8 overall. Up next for the Saints is a home game against Fordham before getting back to conference play.
Hofstra has never lost to Siena in four previous meetings. Most recently, the Pride notched an 81-69 triumph during the 2011-12 season.
Zeke Upshaw scored 22 points to lead four players in double figures for Hofstra in its win over Central Connecticut. The Pride only shot 41.5 percent from the field in the contest, but they scored 22 points at the free-throw line while earning nearly 30 more attempts at the stripe than did the Blue Devils.
The win helped put a dent in the overall scoring deficit the Pride is suffering this season (-4.9). Hofstra is only netting 71.3 points per game while shooting a shade under 45 percent from the floor. Upshaw (19.9 ppg) has carried the load for the Pride most of the season, as the only healthy player averaging double figures. Dion Nesmith (13.5 ppg) was doing so as well before suffering a sprained knee at the end of November that has kept him out the last three games. Jamall Robinson (9.3 ppg) is now the second option with Nesmith sidelined.
Siena has been off for more than two weeks as its last game was at Canisius on Dec. 8. The Saints were run out of the building in that contest, dropping a 93-78 decision. The Saints shot 56.1 percent from the floor in the game but were outscored 45-3 from beyond the arc.
Poole (14.4 ppg) had only nine points in the loss to the Golden Griffins. He is likely to get a chance to bounce back on Monday as despite his illness, he is listed as probable. Having Poole on the floor is a necessity for the Saints, who are only scoring 69.9 points per game on 42.4 percent shooting as it is. That offensive production is coupled with some weakness on defense with Siena yielding 77 points per game. Evan Hymes (10.5 ppg) is the second option, despite hitting only 39.6 percent from the floor. Marquis Wright (7 ppg, 6.2 apg) may not score a ton but his passing ability is invaluable. Wright had 12 assists in the loss to Canisius, his second straight game with double-digit helpers.
The expectations for this game hang on how well Poole performs. If he isn't 100 percent it may be tough for Siena to score enough to win. However, the Saints have historically defended their home court well and they should find a way to do so again tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Siena 67, Hofstra 65
12/23 10:33:34 ET