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Free throws could be crucial for Saints against Peacocks

Sunday, February 10, 2013
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Siena hasn’t beaten too many teams this season, but Saint Peter’s is one of them, and also carries the distinction of being the only team the Saints have beaten by more than five points.

That said, Siena has lost 16 of its last 18 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference road games as it travels to the Yanitelli Center today for a 2 p.m. game against the Peacocks.

Siena is 4-9 in the MAAC and 6-18 overall as it tries to remain in eighth place, one game ahead of Marist and two ahead of last-place Saint Peter’s (2-11, 7-16).

The Saints should expect another foul-filled game against Saint Peter’s, which actually could work in the Saints’ favor, considering how well they’ve been shooting free throws lately.

In particular, guard Rakeem Brookins is 30-for-34 (88 percent) from the line over the last seven games to raise his average to 77.3 percent.

He, Evan Hymes and Rob Poole are all averaging better than 77 percent.

Hymes’ availibility is uncertain today after suffering a charley horse to his right thigh in a 63-51 loss at Loyola Friday night.

He played just five minutes, and freshman Rich Audu played 18 and sophomore forward Imoh Silas 29 off the bench.

Hymes, who was hurt when he was going up for a rebound, has been receiving treatment and did not practice on Saturday.

“I thought we played pretty well against Loyola, but we had a tough row to hoe once Evan got hurt,” head coach Mitch Buonaguro said. “It’ll be a game-time decision whether he plays. Imoh and Rich Audu played well and contributed, which was good considering how depleted we were.”

O.D. Anosike had 16 points and 16 rebounds against Loyola for the 50th double-digit rebounding game of his career, which leaves him six shy of the 1,000-rebound mark.

Anosike can become just the third Saint, and ninth MAAC player, to reach 1,000 boards.

“Anytime you get in that category, it means you’re a tremendous player,” Buonaguro said. “I’m happy for him. He’s having an excellent year. He had 16 on Friday against a good rebounding team, he loves to do it, and the fact that he’s getting to 1,000 is a testament to that.”

He was instrumental in Siena’s 66-53 win over Saint Peter’s at the Times Union Center on Jan. 13.

Anosike had 20 points and was fouled repeatedly, leading to a 12-for-17 night at the free throw line.

As a team, Siena was 27-for-36.

“We played the zone almost exclusively against them, and we’ve had a lot of success with that,” Buonaguro said. “That’ll be important tomorrow, and it kept us in the game on Friday.

“Points are going to be an issue without Evan, and Saint Peter’s has gone to a smaller lineup with [Chris] Burke at the four, which has helped their offense.”

Siena’s been outscored, 42-27, in the last 10 minutes of its two losses this week. The Saints led Loyola, 37-36, with 11:14 to play Friday night and they were tied with Fairfield, 41-41. With 10:10 left Monday night.

Siena has had more turnovers than assists in all but one game this season (at Marist). The Saints rank 328th (of 347) in assist to turnover ratio (.673). Siena’s 19 tunrovers Friday night were their second most in a game all season (20 at Canisius).

Trenity Burdine had his streak of games in double-digit scoring stopped at four when he was held to six against the Greyhounds.

Still, he’s 21-for-38 (55 percent) from the field in five games since returning from a suspension.

Siena has another road game on Thursday night, at Fairfield, before returning for a home game on Saturday night against Loyola.

 
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