Running a marathon is a grind.
ESPN gave Siena and Northeastern some middle miles in its 24-hour Hoops Marathon, and the Saints worked their way through a difficult 59-53 victory at the Times Union Center, in a game that started at noon and was the sixth of 12 on the midnight-to-midnight schedule.
Trailing by 14 with 7:33 left in the first half, the Saints had more turnovers (eight) than points (six).
So they turned it over to their best player, Edwin Ubiles.
The 6-foot-7 senior small forward scored nine points over the course of the next four minutes to get Siena back in it, and he played a superb all-around game, finishing with 26 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists against no turnovers.
“They gave me a lot of angles, and once I saw them, I just went,” Ubiles said. “That’s the key to basketball, you see an opening and you go, and make a play from there. I thought I created a lot of space for myself to make something happen.”
“He’s a matchup problem for just about everybody they face, us included,” Northeastern head coach Bill Coen said. “We really didn’t have anybody with the size and length that could contend with him. Edwin’s a very experienced player, he’s a big-time shotmaker, he doesn’t shy away from big moments and he stepped up today.”
“I told him, if he makes his two dunks, he would’ve had 30,” Siena coach Fran McCaffery joked.
Siena (2-0) needed every bit of Ubiles’ performance, especially in the first half, when the Huskies (0-1) were able to slow the game down and keep Siena from running.
Other than Ubiles, the Saints made just three of 17 shots in the first half, and fell behind, 20-6, following a 7-0 Northeastern run capped by a layup by point guard Baptiste Bataille, who picked the pocket of Alex Franklin after Franklin had grabbed a defensive rebound.
Ubiles took over, scoring on a finger roll out of a timeout, blowing by Matt Janning for a lefty finger roll, then laying one in off an baseline inbounds feed from Ronald Moore.
Clarence Jackson, on the bench for much of the first half with two fouls, came in and made a three-pointer, and Ubiles added a free throw and pullup jumper from the right elbow to complete a 12-0 run and pull the Saints within 20-18 with 3:24 left.
Janning finished the half with a steal and breakaway, floating in a tricky scoop layup with one eye on the clock as it ticked off the remaining tenths of a second to give Northeastern a 26-20 lead, but the tone had changed by then, and Siena was able to crank up its trapping defense in the second half and take control.
“Eddie carried us in the first half,” junior center Ryan Rossiter said. “That game could’ve gotten a lot more ugly if Eddie wasn’t there for us. He made some big shots, kept us in it, and in the second half, we were all ready to join him.”
“I tried to do it all,” Ubiles said. “Coach told us it was a big team, we needed to crash the glass, so I went in there and tried to help out some of our big guys who were in there battling all night. I tried to do a little bit of everything, but most importantly, I tried to make the right play.
“There’s going to be times like that when you’re struggling, and you’ve got to figure out a way to get things going.”
Besides carrying the offense and guarding Northeastern’s best player, Janning, Ubiles spent some time running the point after Moore picked up his second foul.
“That’s a lot; he said, ‘OK,’ ” McCaffery said.
After having trailed since the score was 3-2, Siena finally took a 28-27 lead on Franklin’s reverse from Rossiter, on another well-executed play out of a timeout.
The Saints took the lead for good with 14:13 left, 32-29, when Rossiter made a tough catch of a low pass from Ubiles, who dribbled upcourt through traffic after a blocked shot by Jackson and made a spin dribble in the lane to find Rossiter under the basket.
Rossiter banked in the layup, was fouled and made the free throw.
After going scoreless in the first half, he finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
“We missed a lot of layups,” Rossiter said. “But no one got down on themselves. We took the next one and expected it to go in. That’s how we play.”
“Rossiter was voted in the preseason that he’s an all-league player, and I think he’s proven today that that’s what he’s going to be,” McCaffery said. “He and Franklin are a formidable duo on the glass, and they allow our other three players to do what they do.”
McCaffery had warned his team that Northeastern was adept at coming back from deficits, based on three weeks of video he watched of the Huskies, and Northeastern never really went away, but couldn’t get closer than five of the lead the rest of the way.
Ubiles made a three from the left corner with 4:43 left for a 48-40 lead.
Rossiter finished a three-point play with 4:03 left to put the Saints up, 51-42, and start a run of seven straight made free throws by Siena, including two by Moore with 36.2 seconds that made it 57-48.
Chaisson Allen made a three with 10 seconds left, and Janning, who finished with 14 points, scored on a meaningless drive to keep the final score close.
“They jumped us early, and it took every ounce of effort and composure to come back and get lead, and then maintain that lead and get the ‘W,’ ” McCaffery said. “What I told the team was, that’s what the real good teams do. You have to be able to win on nights when you shoot 39 [percent].”
“In the second half, really, I thought it was more Siena’s halfcourt defense than anything else,” Coen said. “It was very disruptive and generated some turnovers, some contested shots in the halfcourt. Ultimately, that was the difference in the game.”
“Our defense wasn’t there in the first half,” Rossiter said. “We didn’t have any intensity, and they really caught us with their sets. We knew that’s what they were going to try to do. Once we picked it up toward the end of the first half and the whole second half, we knew our offense would come right behind our defense.
“One thing about our team, we never get down on ourselves, we never point a finger. Everyone knows what they have to do to make us successful.”
Adako 3-9 0-0 6, Ojougboh 4-11 1-2 9, Allen 4-12 1-2 11, Janning 6-11 0-2 14, Bataille 4-12 0-0 9, Lima 1-3 2-2 4, Smith 0-4 0-0 0, Bigby 0-0 0-0 0, Muo 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-63 4-8 53.
Rossiter 4-7 5-6 13, Ubiles 11-19 3-7 26, Franklin 2-6 5-7 9, Jackson 2-8 0-0 5, Moore 0-5 4-7 4, Anosike 0-0 0-0 0, Downey 1-6 0-0 2, Wignot 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 20-52 17-27 59.
Halftime: Northeastern 26, Siena 20. Three-point goals: Northeastern 5-20 (Ojougboh 0-1, Allen 2-5, Janning 2-5, Bataille 1-5, Smith 0-4); Siena 2-13 (Ubiles 1-2, Jackson 1-4, Moore 0-3, Downey 0-4). Rebounds: Northeastern 42 (Ojougboh 8); Siena 40 (Rossiter 14). Assists: Northeastern 8 (Janning, Bataille, Lima 2); Siena 12 (Moore 5). Total fouls: Northeastern 21; Siena 12.
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Categories: College Sports