Freshman Anosike playing big role for Saints

Siena had its eye on O.D. Anosike in April of his junior year at St. Pet­er’s for Boys on Staten Isl

Siena had its eye on O.D. Anosike in April of his junior year at St. Pet­er’s for Boys on Staten Island.

Based on recent games, St. John’s, another school that recruited the 6-foot-7 forward, could get an eyeful of Anosike at 5:30 this evening at the Palestra in Philadelphia.

The freshman has been averaging more minutes (14.8) per game than any Saints bench player except for Kyle Downey, and had 10 rebounds in 24 minutes of Siena’s 90-56 victory over Delaware on Tuesday night.

Anosike, who broke his nose in the preseason when elbowed by teammate Brandon Walters, was scheduled to wear a plastic facemask for four to six weeks, but he was able to shed it for the Temple game on Saturday, and has seemed like a liberated player since.

“No, it doesn’t hurt. You can probably still see a little dent on the side, though,” he said, pointing to a small bump on the right side of his nose.

It’s nothing compared to the helpful dent Anosike has been putting on Siena’s opponents.

With the bench a question mark heading into the season, he has been a steady presence right out of the gate.

“You can tell he’s being a lot more aggressive than he was with the mask on,” starting center Ryan Rossiter said. “I knew he was real happy to get that thing off.”

One of the reasons Anosike, whose sister, Nicky, plays for the WNBA Minnesota Lynx, came to Siena was because the Saints got the jump on some other schools he was interested in playing for, including the Red Storm (3-0).

“They actually recruited me and were pretty high on me coming out of high school, so it should be fun playing against them,” he said. “I really just felt comfortable here. Coach [Fran] McCaffery and his staff recruited me in April.

St. John’s got in on me a little late. Coach Mac and his staff stayed with me all summer, throughout the whole recruiting process, and that meant a lot to me. That meant they really wanted me.”

Anosike said it was natural for him to follow St. John’s a little bit when he was growing up.

He never made an official visit there, but said he was seriously thinking about the Red Storm.

He was also recruited by Rutgers, Davidson and Manhattan.

“It would’ve been nice playing in my home city,” he said. “My family would’ve got to see me play a lot more, but I’m very comfortable here, I’m happy with my decision, and that’s it.”

This will be the third of four Philly Hoop Group Classic games for Siena. The Saints will play Brown at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Palestra.

St. John’s is coming off a 79-76 win over Brown in which Malik Boothe made two free throws with 18 seconds left and the Bears’ Ad­rian Williams missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

The Red Storm have also beaten Long Island University (83-70) and St. Bonaventure (69-68).

“St. John’s presents all kinds of problems because of their ability to get up in us defensively with tremendous athletes,” McCaffery said. “They’re also an experienced team that will play well on the road or a neutral site. They’re not going to panic, they’re not a young team. They’ve got experience at the point, they’ve got depth, they’ve got size, they’re undefeated. So we have a great challenge.”

After wasting a chance at a quality non-conference win at Temple on Saturday, the Saints (3-1) have a chance to knock off a Big East team, which could be especially valuable if the Red Storm can improve on its 16-18 record from last season.

Siena is 17-42 all-time against Big East schools.

“It was good for us to bounce back from the Temple game,” sen­ior power forward Alex Franklin said. “It gives us some confidence going into the games against St. John’s and Brown. St. John’s is a whole different team from Del­aware, so we know we’re going to have to prepare for that, have a different gameplan, follow it . . . we’ll be ready.

“They’re a Big East team, they’re going to be physical. We’ll be prepared for them. It will look good if we go on the road and beat a good, quality team, especially a Big East team. We let one slip away from us against Temple.”


With eight assists against Del­aware, point guard Ronald Moore moved ahead of Matt Brady into second place on Siena’s all-time career list, with 595. If Siena plays the minimum 31 scheduled games, Moore, who broke the season-season record last year with 219, would have to average 7.5 assists a game to break Marc Brown’s school record of 796. Through four games, Moore is averaging 8.3 assists. . . .

Edwin Ubiles needs 62 points to pass Michael Haddix and move into seventh on Siena’s all-time scoring list.

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