Confident Saints’ attack is clicking

With Kansas looming on the horizon, the Siena Saints need to remember that there’s no place like hom
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With Kansas looming on the horizon, the Siena Saints need to remember that there’s no place like home.

Siena (9-4) is 6-0 at the Times Union Center heading into today’s 2 p.m. game against Saint Peter’s, which would appear to be a soft spot considering the Peacocks are 4-9 overall and 1-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference after losing to Marist Friday night.

Siena is coming off its best scoring game of the season, an 87-81 win over Fairfield on Thursday afternoon, further evidence that the offense has begun to hum along the way the Saints expect it to.

They’ll play the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night, but in the meantime must take care of business against Saint Peter’s. The Peacocks will be facing a confident team.

“I don’t think any team will be able to stop us if we have games like that,” said junior forward Edwin Ubiles, who leads Siena at 15.0 points per game.

Against Fairfield, the Saints got at least 15 points from four different players, Ubiles (22), point guard Ronald Moore, senior co-captain Kenny Hasbrouck and junior power forward Alex Franklin, who scored 13 of his 15 in the second half.

All four took at least 10 shots and made at least 50 percent of them.

Moore, in particular, hurt the Stags, since he’s averaging 8.5 points a game. He was 3-for-6 from three-point range, which opened things up for everybody else.

Hasbrouck was productive for the second game in a row after suffering through a long shooting slump.

“They were comfortable running their offense, and everybody got in a rhythm,” Fairfield coach Ed Cooley said.

“We’ve been in sync the whole season, I just wasn’t hitting shots,” Hasbrouck said. “I’m back now, so we’re just going to try to keep this up.”

“There’s no secret,” Ubiles said. “I think we were all focused and got in a rhythm. I got going early, Kenny got going, Ronald got going, Alex stepped it up big-time in the second half. When all four of us are scoring like that, or any of our guys, it’s going to be tough to guard us.”

The Saints have won seven of their last eight, with the only loss coming at No. 3 Pittsburgh.

Their free throw shooting has gotten better in recent games, which could be vital to Siena’s chances considering the Saints’ objective is to drive to the basket from all angles to score and draw fouls.

Siena is averaging almost eight more free throw attempts per game than its opponents.

“We moved the ball, we drove the ball [against Fairfield],” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “In the second half, in particular, we got in the double bonus by driving the basketball. That’s important, because when a team is fouling you when you have the lead, you step to the line with two rather than one. It’s a big difference.”

The Big Four of Ubiles, Hasbrouck, Moore and Franklin were so good against the Stags that the bench wasn’t required to score much.

In fact, starting center Ryan Rossiter played 16 minutes, and Clarence Jackson, who had been on a two-game tear, scored just four points.

Josh Duell played 22 minutes for Rossiter and averaged 18.5 minutes over the last six games, a sure sign that he’s close to fully fit after sitting out most of the preseason with an injury.

“The beauty of our team is there’s not that phenomenal pressure on those four guys to do it every night,” McCaffery said. “We’ve had Clarence, Ryan Rossiter has been spectacular, Josh Duell, who I felt played extremely well [against the Stags]. And Owen Wignot’s always going to give us some buckets. When you put him in, his efficiency is incredible.”

Siena beat Saint Peter’s in both meetings last year, 79-56, as Hasbrouck made 12 of 18 shots and scored 28 points, and 77-64, as Franklin scored 28 on 10-for-15 shooting from the field.

Wesley Jenkins leads the Peacocks at 16.5 ppg, and Nick Leon is averaging 14.4.

Notebook

American Red Cross Blood Services, New York-Penn Region will be collecting blood donations before and during the game in Exhib­ition Hall.

Dunkin’ Brands Community Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dunkin’ Donuts which supports emergency response organizations, and the Red Cross are partnering on an initiative designed to encourage and foster blood don­ations during January, nationally recognized as Blood Donor Month.

Categories: College Sports

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