Mike Deane poses with NIT Tournament MVP Doremus Bennerman
Jan. 22, 2014
Banners commemorating Siena's run to the Second Round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament 25 years ago, and the memorable trip to the 1994 NIT Semifinals at Madison Square Garden 20 years ago will be unfurled from the Times Union Center rafters prior to the team's game against Quinnipiac Saturday, February 1 at 7 p.m.
The banners will join the nine other banners commemorating the program's 11 postseason appearances (6 NCAA and 5 NIT) that currently hang at Times Union Center.
Members of the 1989 and 1994 teams have been invited back to be recognized during the ceremony.
The 1988-89 team went 25-5 and captured the North Atlantic Conference Championship by defeating Boston University 68-67 on Steve McCoy's `89 buzzer-beating layup at the Hartford Coliseum. The team went on the upset #3 seed Stanford 80-78 in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. behind 32 points, and two game-winning free throws, from all-time leading scorer Marc "Showbiz" Brown '91. The 88-89 season was especially memorable because a measles' outbreak on campus forced nine games, including the three NAC Tournament contests, to be quarantined.
'At first it was different, new,'' Brown told the New York Times in a March 10, 1989 story. ''But now, it's starting to wear on me. I'm a little flashy; I like to make a nice pass and hear the crowd cheer. But no one cheers.''
Brown and the Saints had their chance to play in front a crowd again in the NCAA Tournament where they delighted thousands, including hundreds of Siena students and spectators, in what many consider the biggest win in program history.
The 1993-94 Saints went 25-8 and again captured the nation's attention with an improbable run to the NIT Final Four. After falling to Manhattan in the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament, Siena received its third invitation to the Postseason NIT. The Saints upset Georgia Tech 76-68 at then-Knickerbocker Arena in the First Round, defeated Tulane 89-79 in front of a record 15,727 fans in Albany in the Second Round, and got by Bradley 75-62 at the Glens Falls Civic Center to earn a trip to Madison Square Garden. The Saints lost to Villanova 66-58 in the semifinals, but bounced back to defeat Kansas State 92-79 in the Third Place game. Star point guard Doremus Bennerman scored a school-record 51 points in the title game, and a still-standing NIT-record 174 points in Siena's five games, en route to being named Most Valuable Player of the Tournament.