Manhattan ran into a perfect storm on Thursday.
It was Senior Night, there was a sellout and Siena played just about as complete a game as it can, beating the Jaspers, 93-69, in front of 8,065 at the Times Union Center.
The Saints improved to 14-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and can clinch at least a tie for the regular-season championship with a win at Iona on Monday.
At 20-6, Siena has 20 win against Division I opponents for the third year in a row, a program first.
As much as Thursday was supposed to be about seniors Kenny Hasbrouck, Josh Duell and Erik Harris, just about everyone on the team donated something to the cause.
Hasbrouck finished with 23 points, sophomore Clarence Jackson had 21 off the bench and junior Edwin Ubiles scored 20, including 17 in the first half as the Saints essentially put the game away with a 47-31 lead. They led by as many as 30 midway through the second half, giving Hasbrouck and Duell a chance to soak it in from the bench.
Sophomore Ryan Rossiter had seven blocked shots in the first half and finished with eight, one off the school single-game record set by Monty Henderson in 1989, and junior point guard Ronald Moore had seven assists in 11 minutes in the first half, and finished with nine.
Siena left an emotional five-minute ceremony to honor the seniors where it belonged, on the sideline, and ripped Manhattan for a 21-6 lead 7:08 into the game, after Hasbrouck made a tough drive to his left for a three-point play, and hit a three-pointer.
“I was waiting to play,” Hasbrouck said. “We had a ceremony, somebody else came up to [center court to] get something, and I was just ready to play the whole time. I wanted to get the ceremony over with. Everybody was cheering, and I love that, but I just wanted to start the game.”
“We separated that five minutes from everything else,” said Duell, who got back on the floor for the first time since spraining his knee at Kansas on Jan. 6.
“I wanted to make sure we didn’t lose sight of what the objecive was, and that was to win the game,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “Focus is necessary, and tonight, we could not have done a better job of that.”
Ubiles was 7-for-10 from the field in the first half, and the Saints shot 51.5 percent from the floor.
Siena also had one of its best games from the free-throw line, going 16-for-19 (84.2 percent).
The sellout crowd had several opportunities to get loud, including when Duell came into the game with 13:56 left in the first half.
The biggest ovation was when Hasbrouck, who helped turn the program around when he arrived as a freshman from Capital Heights, Md., a suburb of Baltimore.
“The beauty of his performance was he kept driving the ball,” McCaffery said. “We played him at the two, we played him at the one, they’ve got some really talented offensive players, and he was phenomenal at the defensive end, like he usually is. He just set the tone right off the bat.”
“They really seemed to feed off the energy of the building,” Manhattan head coach Barry Rohrssen said. “They said there was 8,000 people here, and it sounded like double that.
“There’s a reason he got the preseason vote for player of the year. He held true to form on that. He does a lot of things well.”
The Saints didn’t waste any time keeping the upper hand in the second half.
Hasbrouck started it with a three, and Rossiter scored twice in transition, on a feed from Moore and a tip-in of Moore’s miss to make it 54-31, prompting Rohrssen to call a timeout at 17:04. Hasbrouck made two free throws with 14:25 left to finish a 7-0 run that made it 61-35.
“We played great as a team, the chemistry was flowing, Ed was killing, Clarence was killing, Ryan was bringing it, Ron was finding everybody,” Hasbrouck said. “Everything was clicking the way we wanted it to. The effort was there on offense and defense. We never gave up one easy possession.”
Duell, a Scotia native, missed three three-pointers, but finished a three-point play midway through the second half for his only points. He played 12 minutes in his first action in five weeks.
“For the first game, for as long as he’s been out, I thought he was terrific,” McCaffery said.
“The first two felt pretty bad, but the third one I thought was going in for sure,” Duell said. “We’ll get back out there. I’ve just got to get my legs back a little bit, and we’ll see what happens from there.”
Gabriel 1-4 0-0 2, Smith 7-12 0-0 17, Bouli 1-5 0-0 3, Crawford 9-18 2-2 22, Banogle 3-8 0-0 6, Adams 1-2 0-0 2, V. Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Ferguson 2-5 3-4 7, Pearson 0-0 0-0 0, Walsh 0-2 0-0 0, Coulibay 0-0 0-0 0, Jolicoeur 4-11 0-1 10. Totals: 28-67 5-7 69.
Rossiter 3-4 2-2 8, Franklin 2-3 2-2 6, Ubiles 8-12 2-2 20, Moore 2-5 1-2 6, Hasbrouck 9-17 3-3 23, Fenlon 0-0 0-0 0, Downey 0-3 0-0 0, Duell 1-4 1-1 3, C. Jackson 8-15 1-1 21, Wignot 0-2 3-4 3, Harris 1-1 1-2 3, Priestley 34-66 16-19 93.
Halftime: Siena 47, Manhattan 31. Three-point goals: Manhattan 8-21 (Smith 3-6, Bouli 1-5, Crawford 2-4, Ferguson 0-2, Walsh 0-1, Jolicoeur 2-3); Siena 9-24 (Ubiles 2-2, Moore 1-1, Hasbrouck 2-5, Downey 0-2, Duell 0-3, C. Jackson 4-9, Wignot 0-2). Rebounds: Manhattan 33 (Smith 9); Siena 40 (Rossiter 8). Assists: Manhattan 13 (Crawford, Ferguson 4); Siena 25 (Moore 9). Total fouls: Manhattan 15; Siena 7. Attendance: 8,065.
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