Nov. 24, 2013
The future may indeed be now for Siena Basketball. Siena's young guns gave Purdue all it could handle in a narrow 81-73 defeat in an un-bracketed Old Spice Classic game in front of 12,898 fans at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.
The teams could meet again next weekend in Orlando, and given a second opportunity on a neutral court, it would not be a shock to see the outcome go in Siena's (2-4) favor.
Buoyed by huge performances off the bench from Evan Hymes and Brett Bisping, Siena never trailed by more than 11 points in a rematch of the 2010 NCAA Tournament meeting between the programs. Hymes reached double figures for a fourth straight game off the bench with a season-high 18 points and five assists, while Bisping contributed a career-high 16 points on 7-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks.
Purdue (5-0) jumped out to an early 11-4 lead as Siena missed 13 of its first 16 shots. The Saints battled back, eventually claiming a 20-19 lead on an Imoh Silas put back at the 8:10 mark.
After a slow shooting start of their own, the Boilermakers drilled four straight threes, the final three of which came from Kendall Stephens, as Purdue took its biggest lead of the game 39-28 with 3:19 left in the first half.
But the resilient Saints once again would not back down as Siena scored the final eight points of the half to rally within 39-36 at the break.
Siena got as close as two and never down by more than 11 in the final stanza. Down just seven, 61-54 with 9:52 remaining, Siena's two starting posts Silas and Lavon Long fouled out. Despite playing with a distinct height disadvantage throughout, the Saints more then held their own in the paint both before and after the disqualifications.
Siena scored 52 of its points in the paint - 12 more than Purdue. After the Boilermakers grabbed 13 of the game's first 16 rebounds, the final tally was knotted at 45.
Terone Johnson paced four Purdue players in double figures with 15 points including his 1,000th career point. His younger brother, Ronnie, added 14 points. A.J. Hammons tallied 12 points and six blocks and Bryson Scott led the Boilermakers with 16 points in 17 minutes off the bench.
The grueling early season schedule gets no easier as the Saints face Memphis Thanksgiving night to tip off the Old Spice Classic at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The Tigers entered this week ranked 11th in both the AP Top-25 and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Polls.