Brett Bisping fought through back spasms to score a game-high 18 points, and Javion Ogunyemi finished one block shy of a school-record helping Siena power past Quinnipiac 64-52 Friday night in Hamden. The Saints improve to 4-2 in the MAAC with their first conference road win of the season.
Bisping didn't start and was a game-time decision due to the severe back spasms that began Thursday night. He entered the game just over a minute into live action after Ogunyemi took an elbow to the face, and promptly scored four points including a follow dunk. But he lasted just four minutes before retreating to the lockerroom after the injury acted up, and didn't play again in the first half.
He didn't start the second half, but played the final 19 minutes and was a clear difference in the game.
"Brett's performance wasn't Willis Reed-like, but it was close," Siena coach Jimmy Patsos quipped after the game.
Bisping finished 8-13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds.
Siena had 52 rebounds as a team, its most in a game since hauling down 53 in its program-defining, double-overtime NCAA Tournament win over Ohio State March 20, 2009.
Ogunyemi's eight blocks were the most since Ryan Rossiter had in February of the same season, and were just one off Monty Henderson's school mark of nine set against New Hampshire January 30, 1989.
The Saints held Quinnipiac to just 26% from the field and held a 52-44 advantage on the glass.
Siena shot a season-low 34%, including 1-12 from Ogunyemi and 3-12 from Lavon Long, but both players made major contributions in other ways. Long grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in 36 spirited minutes.
Quinnipiac began the second half on a 17-5 run to take its biggest lead, 38-32, with 13:13 remaining. Siena answered with a decisive 15-2 run to grab the lead for good. The lead was 51-50 with 4:24 to play, but the Saints scored the next seven to put the game on ice.
Nico Clareth had 15 points, four assists, and four steals in the win.
Siena controlled the action for most of the first half, grabbing an 11-point lead after Kinnon LaRose's three-pointer with 11:07 on the clock. The Saints used a lineup with four freshmen for a three-minute stretch and got key contributions from several reserves with Bisping (and star guard Marquis Wright sidelined).
Siena travels to face upstart Monmouth Monday at 4 p.m.