Balanced offense makes Siena tough

A balanced scoring attack is what's keeping Siena in contention for the MAAC men's basketball champi
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Lost in the shuffle after Siena’s wild victory at Rider on Sunday was the fact that sophomore Edwin Ubiles, the Saints’ leading scorer, didn’t have a point after the 11:57 mark of the first half, and finished with seven points on 3-for-12 shooting in 38 minutes.

The logical assumption in that scenario would be that Siena would have a hard time beating a team as good as Rider, but actually, it underscores how balanced and deep the Saints’ offense is, especially among the starters now that Josh Duell no longer comes off the bench.

The Broncs’ Jason Thompson had another monster game against Siena, and Rider’s bench outscored Siena’s, 24-4, but Siena had four players who scored at least 14 points in the 80-77 victory.

Among them was Duell (5.9 ppg), who had eight points in the last 1:35, including the game-winning three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left, and point guard Ronald Moore, who had his best statistical game of the season with 17 points and nine

assists.

“It makes us hard to prepare for,” Siena head coach Fran McCaffery said. “Eddie doesn’t get a bucket in the second half, Ronald goes for a big number, Kenny [Hasbrouck], Josh, [Alex] Franklin, of course. What you don’t want is, as you’re coming down the stretch, for the other team to know exactly who’s going to be shooting the ball. We spread it around.”

Heading into Saturday afternoon’s game against Loyola at the Times Union Center, Siena (11-3, 16-8) is tied with Rider (11-3, 18-7) for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Ubiles still leads the Saints at 16.1 points per game, and Hasbrouck, a junior guard, is at 15.9 ppg after scoring 35 at Marist on Friday and 18 at Rider.

For Siena, though, the term “leading scorer” is resting on top of “preseason rankings” at the bottom of the trash can of insignificant facts.

“A lot of players would think, I’m a junior, I should be the leading scorer, not Eddie, but Kenny doesn’t care, and neither does Eddie,” McCaffery said. “Eddie’s not trying to be the leading scorer. Who knows, Kenny might end up being the leading scorer before the season is over.”

McCaffery took some of the blame for Ubiles’ quiet game against Rider.

“Eddie shouldn’t have zero points in the second half,” he said. “He didn’t have one of his better games, but we probably didn’t go to him enough. We need him out there. But what happens to him sometimes is, when his offense goes a little bit south, his defense goes a little bit south. He started off well. He hit a couple of shots early, and I thought, ‘Here we go, he’s

going to have a big game.’ ”

He didn’t, but everyone else did.

In the second half, Franklin (12 points), Moore (12), Hasbrouck (11) and Duell (11) accounted for Siena’s scoring.

That was in contrast to the game at Marist, when Hasbrouck made 14 of 21 shots and put the team on his shoulders. Either way, the Saints’ offense is dangerous, and appears to be hitting its best stride as they head toward the MAAC tournament.

“His shot was a little bit off, he had some nagging injuries that he seems to have overcome,” McCaffery said. “We do spread the ball around, but it was good to see him take the game over Friday night, because if you look at the remainder of the season, that’s what you need, for your stars to take games over down the stretch.

“[Charron] Fisher goes for 45 on the road against Loyola on Sunday, that’s a statement. For us, Kenny’s that guy. If he doesn’t go for 35

Friday, we don’t win.”

no tv game

Although Siena was picked to be in one of the 14 games to be broadcast by ESPN as part of the BracketBusters package on Feb. 23, the game won’t be on TV.

Siena will play at Boise State at 10 p.m. EST that Saturday. It’s one of two games that will appear on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband digital sports network. The service is available for free to viewers who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider, among them AT&T and Verizon, but not Road Runner, the ISP for Time Warner subscribers.

rpi ratings

Following Sunday’s win over Rider, Siena is listed 77th on the Collegiate Basketball News’ Web site, rpiratings.com.

Marist is No. 109, and Rider is No. 111.

Categories: Sports

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