Saints try to regroup at Canisius

Siena can pretty much forget about an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, and suddenly, today’s

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Head coach Fran McCaffery slammed the scorer’s table late in the loss at Niagara Friday night, drawing a technical foul.

Kenny Hasbrouck was an awful 2-for-20 from the field.

Siena gave up 100 points.

The Saints showed some cracks in the poise and confidence that helped them clinch the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season title with two games left and join the national discussion about at-large bids to the NCAA tourn­ament.

Siena can pretty much forget about an at-large bid, and suddenly, today’s 2 p.m. game at Canisius takes on some added urgency, because the last thing the Saints (15-2, 22-7) need heading into the conference tournament is a two-game losing streak.

In a phone interview after the 100-85 loss to Niagara, McCaffery said the emphasis for the Canisius game wouldn’t be so much on winning or losing, but on getting back to what won them a championship, especially defense. It’s worth noting that the Saints scored 85 points at Niagara and 88 points at Rider three weeks ago, and still found a way to lose both games.

“All we want to do is play well and follow the game plan for 40 minutes,” McCaffery said.

Siena couldn’t find its offense in the first half against Niagara, and fell behind by 17 at halftime.

The Saints got it going in the second half and gradually moved into striking range, only to fail on two opportunities to cut into a seven-point lead with plenty of time left.

Hasbrouck was cold from the start, and stayed that way.

“They were up in him,” McCaffery said during the postgame press conference. “I don’t think they were in him more than anybody else. I thought, defensively, they were really up toward the ball and in our face for the entire first half, and got us collectively a little sideways.”

The game in the small, packed Gallagher Center had a tourn­ament atmosphere, and since Niagara clinched the second seed in the MAAC tournament, the teams could meet again in the champ­ionship game.

That means getting on a winning streak, which the Golden Griffins know something about all of a sudden, since they’re on their longest — if modest — streak of the season.

After winning by two at Loyola and at Bowling Green in overtime, Canisius (4-13, 10-18) thumped Marist at home on Friday, 75-49.

“Canisius is playing well,” McCaffery said. “They just won their second in a row on the road. Ob­viously, they want to be playing like this down the stretch.”

Siena beat Canisius in the first meeting, 91-73, falling behind by eight midway through the first half before running away in the second half, when the Saints shot 64 percent from the field.

Senior co-captain Josh Duell of Scotia, who missed the Niagara game with a calf injury, the third time this season he’s been knocked out by an injury, is not expected to play against Canisius, but could be available for the MAAC tourn­ament.

Siena won’t play its quarterfinal game until 5 p.m. Saturday, against Friday’s Canisius-Marist winner.

Hasbrouck had three steals against the Purple Eagles to pass Marcus Faison by one into first on the all-time career list at Siena with 232.

While Hasbrouck was having a nightmare against Niagara, point guard Ronald Moore had one of the best game of his career with nine assists against one turnover and a career-high 23 points.

Playing against the Griffs might be what Hasbrouck needs to wash away his performance against Niagara. He was 9-for-15 and scored 21 points in 25 minutes against Canisius in the first meeting.

Categories: College Sports

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