Brett Bisping scored 27 points and tied a career-high with 18 points, dominating Siena's comfortable 77-66 win over Marist in front of 8,354 fans at Times Union Center Saturday night. The Saints improved to 9-0 at home with the win, and stayed half a game behind Monmouth in the MAAC standings with the first place Hawks coming to town Monday night.
"Everybody is talking about Monmouth and Iona, I think Siena is as good as anyone in the league right now," Marist coach Mike Maker said.
The Saints certainly deserve to be in the discussion after polishing off the Red Foxes in impressive fashion. Siena led by double figures for the final 27 minutes and 39 seconds to post their fourth straight victory and sixth in the last seven games. All eight of Siena's MAAC wins have come by double figures.
"I'm proud of this team, nobody thought we were going to be any good (when Marquis went down) and the players are doing it," Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. "That's a good team we beat. They played everyone tight. They have more close losses than anyone in the league."
Bisping made 10-14 field goals in his third straight 20-point performance, and sixth in the last nine games. He rounded out his team-leading seventh double with 18 boards in 32 unstoppable minutes.
Bisping helped Siena to a 44-32 advantage on the glass, marking the 10th time this season the Saints have had a double-digit rebounding advantage.
Siena also got a career-high seven assists from starting point guard Kenny Wormley. Wormley led the Saints to their third straight game with more than 15 assists (17) and their fourth straight game with more assists than turnovers.
"Ryan (Oliver) and Kenny, their (scoring) numbers weren't great, but they played really well," Patsos said.
Marist got 22 points from Khallid Hart and 20 from freshman Brian Parker, but lost its 10th straight game.
The Saints blitzed Marist 14-4 out of the gate, and used a 10-2 run later in the first half to take control. Siena led 47-29 at the half, and grabbed their first 20-point lead when Bisping opened the second half with a three. The lead was still 18 at the final media timeout.
Nico Clareth sparked Siena's sharp start with 10 of his 13 points in the first half.