Aug. 19, 2003
Siena scored the first 10 points of the game, and after briefly surrendering that advantage midway through the second quarter, held on to win by exactly that margin for the second straight night before a boisterous crowd of over 500 National University partisan fans in Mexico City Tuesday evening. Antoine Jordan became the second sophomore-to-be in as many days to lead the victors in scoring, notching 15 points, while classmate Paul Williams recorded a double-double adding 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Jordan broke the ice with a three from the right wing on Siena's first possession sparking the early 10-0 run. Alfredo Nucamendi, who led all scorers with 29 points (21 in the first half), kept National close by scoring 13 of his team's 15 first quarter points. After a Nucamendi layup closed the Siena lead to two points in the second quarter, Mario Carranza gave the home team their only lead of the night (30-29) with a three-pointer from the top of the key. Less than 10 seconds later, Jordan's runner in the lane gave the Saints the lead for good.
For the second straight night, Siena used a balanced scoring attack to wear away at the opposition. Every player except Jamal Jackson, who led the way with six assists, scored for the Saints and six players recorded six or more points.
After playing stifling defense for the entire third quarter, the Saints had built their biggest lead of the night, 69-49. National mustered just 13 points in the decisive quarter.
"We got back to what we do best in the second half and really played well on defense," Siena Head Coach Rob Lanier said. "We weren't pleased with our defensive effort (against Poly Rob Monday night) or the first half tonight, but in the second half we started to show signs of the team we want to become."
The Saints did let their opponent back in the game in the final quarter, mostly due to a lack of execution on offense. Siena managed just nine fourth quarter points and saw their lead trimmed to as few as eight. Tommy Mitchell's three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining snapped an 8-0 National run and any hopes of a last minute comeback.
Williams was active inside all night, seeing increased playing time as classmate Michael Haddix battled through stomach pains and foul trouble.
"So far this trip has provided us with exactly what we were looking for," Lanier said. "The competition has been fierce and our team has gained immeasurable experience in hostile environments against quality opposition. We anxiously await our final three games."
Lanier and the Saints will play those final three games on consecutive nights beginning Friday evening in Cancun against the University of LaSalle (Mexico). The team will have an off day Wednesday where they will enjoy a tour of the ancient Mayan Pyramids before traveling to the Mayan Riviera on Thursday.
Notes: National University is one of the largest Universities in the world with an enrollment of over 200,000 students and over 70,000 faculty members...Tuition is less than 50 cents per year for Mexican Citizens...Classes began Monday and a vocal collection of students were in attendance at Tuesday's game...After committing 37 fouls and allowing 51 free throws Monday night, the Saints had just 20 infractions and National University just 17 free throw attempts Tuesday...Siena has converted just 17 of its 47 three-point field goal attempts so far with the adjusted international line.