Dec. 6, 2013
Siena led from start to finish and by double digits for the final 15 minutes in a convincing 84-71 MAAC-opening win at defending regular-season champ Niagara Friday night. Rob Poole led four Saints in double figures with a game-high 21 points and made all four of his three-pointers in the first half as the Saints raced to a 47-35 lead at the break.
"Coach instills toughness, and to win on the road, you have to be tough," Poole said. "When they hit us with their best punch, we hit back."
With the game tied at 26-26 midway through the first half, Siena scored 12 straight points and never looked back. Niagara closed within 49-41 with 17:10 to play, but the Saints scored 10 of the next 12 points and cruised home through a fractured final 10 minutes.
Poole's precision from the outside, opened up the inside for Lavon Long and Brett Bisping. Long had 14 points and seven rebounds and Bisping added 10 points and a pair of blocks. Marquis Wright had a career-high 10 assists running the point.
"I'm proud of our team for winning," head coach Jimmy Patsos said. "We'd lost here five years in a row."
Siena has had a tough time winning any MAAC road games in recent years, dropping 18 of the last 20 they've played entering tonight's triumph.
The Saints also managed to contain the nation's leading scorer Antoine Mason. Mason finished with just 18 points - 12 off his average - and he left the game for good with seven minutes left after cramping up. Rayvon Harris added 15 points before fouling out and Ramone Snowden had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Evan Hymes joined Long with 14 points, and half came on a single possession that helped ice the game. Hymes was fouled driving to the basket with 9:55 left and then drew a technical on Marvin Jordan - his second of the game. Hymes made all four free throws and then buried a long three-pointer. Siena was on its way to a 1-0 in MAAC start from there.
The Saints wrap-up their Western New York swing at Canisius Sunday.
"This is a tough road trip," Patsos said. "We're in position to sweep."