Jan. 12, 2008
Siena started the second half with a 15-2 run to break open a close game and coasted to a 94-84 road win at Niagara Friday night. Edwin Ubiles scored 28 points and made 11-14 field goals and the Saints shot 12-19 from 3-point range to pull even with the Purple Eagles atop the MAAC standings.
"I thought we really competed tonight, in a tough environment," head coach Fran McCaffery said. "Our shots were falling and we had several different players contribute."
Tay Fisher shot 4-4 from 3-point range, making all four attempts in the second half. He also went 6-6 from the free throw line, finishing with 18 points. Point guard Ronald Moore also had 18 points and made all six of his free throws.
The nation's leading scorer, Charron Fisher, scored a game-high 31 points, but attempted 21 shots and scored 10 of his points from the line.
Siena shot 53% from the field and limited the Purple Eagles to just 39%. The Saints are now 5-0 when shooting better than 50% this season and 5-0 when limiting the opposition to under 40%
Siena broke the 90-point mark for the first time since last year's win here at the Gallagher Center. The Saints are now 3-0 in this building against the reigning MAAC Champions under McCaffery's direction.
The game was billed as a showdown of title contenders, and was played before a nationally televised audience in a sold out gym. It lived up to the billing through a high-paced, above-the-rim first half, with Siena holding a 38-36 lead in the locker room.
But Niagara couldn't keep pace in the second half.
Siena built as much as a 20-point lead on two occasions in the second half, the second coming with just under nine minutes remaining. Some of the capacity crowd started heading for the exits at the 8-minute media timeout, and many more followed four minutes later even though Niagara cut the deficit to as few as seven with a few steals and free throws.
The teams appeared headed in opposite directions coming in, with Niagara having won six straight and Siena having lost three of its last five games. The convincing road win shifts momentum for the moment and no doubt sends a message throughout the league. It also helped Siena avenge its loss to Niagara in last year's MAAC title game.
The Saints look to complete their second straight Western New York sweep Sunday afternoon against Canisius at 4 p.m. That game will be televised on TW3 in the Capital Region.