Feb. 16, 2014
Billy Baron played all 55 minutes and scored 40 points - the third most ever in a game at Times Union Center - willing Canisius past Siena 92-88 in a triple-overtime thriller Sunday in Albany. Baron's three-point play with 45 seconds left in the final extra session gave the Griffs the lead for good.
It's the second trying loss in three days for Siena (11-16, 7-9) which surrendered a four-point lead with seven seconds left in a 65-64 setback at rival Marist Friday. The Saints fall into seventh place in the MAAC standings, a game behind Marist and two back of Rider with four games remaining.
"That was a great basketball game, we just lost" Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. "I've been in two great games in three days, we just lost. But, better to be in great games than bad games. When I took this program over, I told you things would be interesting. I didn't say we'd win every game. I just said we'll have fun, we'll play hard and it will be an entertaining product."
It sure has been.
The Saints, picked 10th in the MAAC Preseason Poll, played conference contender Canisius (92-88) dead even all afternoon. The four-point margin of victory marked the most points the Griffs led by all game, and Siena's defense came up big to extend the game three times.
Baron missed three-pointers at the end of regulation and the first overtime that would have won the game, and then deferred to Chris Perez for a missed triple at the end of the second extra session.
Rob Poole had a career-high 33 points, and his three-point play with 56 seconds left in triple overtime put the Saints up 88-87. He also kept Siena alive with a triple from the left wing that tied the game 80-80 with 27 seconds left in the second overtime.
"Poole is fun to coach, because you challenge him and he steps up," Patsos said.
Baron drove past Siena's man-to-man defense on the decisive possession that followed Poole's three-point play, and drew contact while scoring the go-ahead basket. Poole was forced to take a deep, contested three with 12 seconds left on Siena's next trip and Baron sealed the outcome with two free throws after Canisius grabbed the rebound.
The Saints also had a chance to pull ahead late in regulation, but Marquis Wright's drive in traffic was rejected by Jordan Heath with 12 seconds left, and after a timeout, Baron couldn't connect on a leaning three-pointer.
Free throw shooting proved critical. Baron went 18-for-19 from the line, setting a Times Union Center record for makes, and helping Canisius to a 31-for-41 performance. Siena shot just 21-for-31 from the stripe and Wright missed two with the game tied late in the first extra session, and another after Brett Bisping misfired from the stripe in the third overtime.
Perez had 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 shooting from the free throw line for Canisius.
Bisping had all 16 of his points all nine of his rebounds after halftime for Siena. Wright had his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 assists after posting eight points and 12 assists in the Saints' loss at Canisius back in December. Ryan Oliver contributed 12 points, including Siena's first four of the second overtime.
The Saints will try to bounce back Friday night when they host Manhattan in the annual Gold Rush game at 7 p.m.