Saints deliver 1-2 scoring punch

Siena's 1-2 scoring punch of Kenny Hasbrouck and Edwin Ubiles knocks out Niagara.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Two kings beat an ace on Friday night.

Kenny Hasbrouck scored 32 points, and Edwin Ubiles had 25 on a combined 25-for-41 shooting (61 percent) as Siena ran past Niagara, 94-78, at the Times Union Center to stay in contention for a share of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference reg­ular-season title at 12-5.

The Purple Eagles’ Charron Fisher came into the game leading the nation in scoring at 27.6 points per game, and he played his part, scoring 31 (14-for-27).

He didn’t come close to counterbalancing the Saints’ top two scorers, though. Siena scored the first seven points of the game, never trailed and put it away with a 9-0 run in which Tay Fisher played a big role on Senior Night midway through the second half.

Siena scored 94 points in both victories over Niagara this season.

“They try to get in a running game where they outscore us,” Hasbrouck said. “That suits us well, because we have a lot of scorers.

“Yeah, let’s try to score 100 if we can, and we came close,” Siena head coach Fran McCaffery said.

“I’m disappointed. Disappointed, because the things we expected all happened, and we didn’t bring it on the defensive end,” said Niagara head coach Joe Mihalich. “This team is too talented and has too many ways that they can hurt you.”

Siena (18-10 overall), which finishes the regular season at Saint Peter’s Sunday afternoon, moved back into a tie with Loyola and Rider for first place in the MAAC.

Hasbrouck had 19 points at halftime as the Saints took a 50-43 lead, despite foul trouble that limited power forward Alex Franklin to just four minutes.

Consequently, Niagara was able to gain a big advantage in rebounding, but Hasbrouck and Ubiles were unstoppable, making 15 of 23 shots.

Tyrone Lewis’ three-pointer to start the second half cut the Saints’ lead to four, then Siena pulled away.

To honor Tay Fisher, the only sen­ior on the roster, everyone of his teammates wore white headbands, one of his trademarks. A three-point specialist, he airballed his first attempt in the first half, but made two in the second half, including one that sparked a 9-0 run that gave the Saints a 71-53 lead with 10:21 left.

“You know what it was, I got real emotional during the ceremony, and that really brought me down a little bit,” Fisher said. “I wasn’t expecting to, but, man, the way the support was and had the headbands and the posters, I wasn’t expecting it. But just because I missed my first three threes, I knew I would have my chance.”

“I’ve been there,” McCaffery said. “It’s nice, for him it was well-deserved, but you don’t want to become a distraction. It’s every coach’s worry. I knew he would come through and be able to focus. His first jump shot, he shot a 20-footer and it went about 35 feet, but after that, he was fine.”

Hasbrouck made a difficult drive and free throw to give Siena a 74-55 lead, and after Lewis made a three, Fisher made his second three-pointer to give the Saints a 78-58 lead.

Siena’s offense was relentless and didn’t let Niagara get closer than 14 the rest of the way.

Ubiles provided another highlight when he swooped down the lane and used full extension of his right arm to slam one through for an 80-62 lead with 8:04 left.

“For Eddie, it’s a quiet 25, if there is such a thing,” McCaffery said. “Except for the monster dunk. He just sort of floats around and makes baskets and gets a few rebounds, blocks a shot. He has tremendous feel for how to play the game.”

Josh Duell (10 points) was the only other Saint in double figures, but Hasbrouck and Ubiles were plenty.

“The pace works perfect for us, if we’re rebounding and playing defense, but we don’t want to get in a game were we’re scoring, they’re scoring, because we get in a cold stretch, they’ll take the lead,” Hasbrouck said.

“Kenny in particular, that’s may be as well as he’s played,” McCaffery said. “He looked quick, he kept getting to the rim, he kept getting fouled. He was just quick and powerful and aggressive.”

Tay Fisher finished with eight points in 15 minutes and received a standing ovation when McCaffery substituted him out of the game in the closing seconds.

“I told them before the game that there’s only one Fisher in this building, and it’s not Charron Fisher,” Tay Fisher said. “We know that he’s a great player and that we need to stop him to get the win, but we weren’t going to let him or his team come here and destroy a night like this. Not only because it was Senior Night, but because we need the win. I made that pretty clear.”

“You want Senior Night to go the right way, because he’s meant so much to this program,” McCaffery said. “I was very impressed all week with his commitment to winning this game and not making it about him. That’s sort of the way he is. And somehow it becomes about him, because of the way he plays. He was right in the middle of the run, which is not surprising, because he’s been in the middle of so many runs.”

NIAGARA (78)

C. Fisher 14-27 0-1 31, Egemonye 2-3 2-2 6, Hodge 4-13 2-2 10, Lewis 7-17 0-2 17, Nelson 1-5 1-1 3, Patterson 0-2 0-0 0, Williamson 3-8 0-0 9, Gordon 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 32-78 5-8 78.

SIENA (94)

Ubiles 12-20 0-0 25, Franklin 2-11 2-3 6, Duell 3-7 4-4 10, Moore 2-6 2-4 6, Hasbrouck 13-21 5-6 32, De La Rosa 2-2 2-3 6, T. Fisher 2-5 2-2 8, Jackson 0-1 0-0 0, Rossiter 0-0 1-2 1, Magee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 36-73 18-24 94.

Halftime: Siena 50, Niagara 43. Three-point goals: Niagara 9-33 (C. Fisher 3-11, Hodge 0-6, Lewis 3-8, Patterson 0-2, Williamson 3-6); Siena 4-16 (Ubiles 1-2, Duell 0-3, Moore 0-3, Hasbrouck 1-3, T. Fisher 2-5). Rebounds: Niagara 47 (C. Fisher 14); Siena 40 (Franklin, Hasbrouck 7). Assists: Niagara 13 (Hodge, Nelson 3); Siena 11 (Moore 5). Total fouls: Niagara 20; Siena 11. Technical foul: Egemonye. Attendance: 7,366.

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