Siena vs. Loyola: Injuries take toll on Saints

After watching his players take some hits during games that sent them crashing to the floor recently
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After watching his players take some hits during games that sent them crashing to the floor recently, Siena head coach Fran McCaffery has been getting concerned about the possibility that somebody’s going to get injured.

Or that one of his players will get suspended for retaliating.

Somebody finally did get injured, but it was self-inflicted.

Sophomore reserve guard Kyle Downey broke his foot during practice Tuesday night, just as he had established himself as the most important player off the bench.

He’ll be out of the lineup indef­initely as the Saints play host to Loyola at 7 tonight, and the roster could be further compromised if Edwin Ubiles can’t go or is limited.

The senior small forward, a conference first-team all-star, was also hurt in practice, straining his back on Sunday, and did not play in Monday’s 83-68 victory over Manhattan.

With the win, the Saints improved to 8-0 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and 15-4 overall, and pushed their home winning streak to 31 games.

The game was marked by two intentional fouls called against the Jaspers, and power forward Alex Franklin was sent to the deck early in the second half and landed on the same elbow he banged against Canisius last week, when guard Robert Goldsberry undercut him as Franklin went for a rebound.

Later in the Manhattan game, shooting guard Clarence Jackson hit the floor hard after being fouled by Darry Crawford, who was called for the second intentional foul. The other happened just before halftime, when Brandon Adams shoved Ryan Rossiter in the back as he attempted a layup.

“I’ve been having deja vu every game,” Franklin said with a rueful chuckle. “A couple of my teammates took some hits, too. We know every game’s going to be physical. We talk about keeping our composure all the time. That’s what we pride ourselves on, playing through it.

“I don’t know. I think they’re just trying to play physical with us, try and make us work as hard as we can to earn baskets.”

“You’ve got to take hard hits,” Jackson said after the game. “You’ve got to be a better player and try and maintain your composure.

“Being the top dog, everybody’s going to try and be scrappy with you and try to find some way to take a team out of their game. We just have to be a better team every night. We’ve got to expect that’s going to happen, and make smart plays and not get too rattled by that.”

The problem was, Jackson did get rattled, and after he made a hard drive against several defenders, got the roll and drew a foul, he was called for an offensive foul the next time down and turned it over, so McCaffery took him out of the game.

He said the officiating crew did a good job calling what needed to be called and keeping the game under control. But he’s disturbed by what he sees to be a pattern of dangerous fouls against his team.

“It’s got to stop,” McCaffery said. “I’ve had enough.”

Ubiles has been receiving treatment and painkillers, but said on Monday he wasn’t sure when he’d be able to play again. He hurt his back reaching for a pass early in practice on Sunday, and it got worse as practice wore on.

He missed one other game due to injury this season, a loss at Georgia Tech on Dec. 2, when he was out with a knee injury.

“Hopefully, I’ll be back soon,” he said on Monday. “I was really in pain when it first happened, and I could barely move. I’m starting to move a little better now. I don’t want to force anything and re-injure it. I think we’re shooting for Thursday.”

If Ubiles can’t play, it’s likely Owen Wignot would start, as he did against Georgia Tech, but the Saints will probably need important minutes from freshman forward O.D. Anosike, too.

Without Ubiles, who has played some point guard, and Downey, Siena is thin at guard. Freshman Denzel Yard is on team suspension because of academics, freshman Jonathan Breeden has been sick and La Salle transfer Kyle Griffin is still working his way through a balky, surgically repaired knee.

The Greyhounds (2-6, 9-9) have injury problems of their own. Guard Brett Harvey, who did not play in a loss to Siena on Jan. 4 because he was sick, has missed the last three games after banging shoulders with Fairfield’s Derek Needham on Jan. 8.

Notebook

Siena stayed at No. 32 in the weekly RPI projection by the NCAA. RealtimeRPI.com had Siena at 33 as of Wednesday. …

The Siena women’s team will play its annual “Pink Zone” game against Loyola at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Alumni Recreation Center, in an effort to fight breast cancer and raise money for the cause.

In partnership with Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer (CRAAB!), the Saints will host a pregame ceremony to honor local breast cancer survivors. Proceeds from game ticket sales will benefit CRAAB!

Categories: College Sports

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