What a difference a few weeks can make in the strength and spirit of a basketball team.
Siena started the season as one of the deepest teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, yet going into tonight’s non-conference game with Cornell at 7 at the Times Union Center, the Saints are scrambling to find healthy — and eligible — bodies.
Senior center Imoh Silas, who played a fantastic game against the Big Red a year ago, is out for the year after surgery for a torn ACL in his right knee. Starting forward Brett Bisping, one of the heroes of the College Basketball Invitational championship series, is out until February with a broken toe. Sophomore forward Lavon Long will miss tonight’s game with a high ankle sprain, and Patrick Cole is suspended for the year.
Throw in that Michael Wolfe has left the team with the intention of transferring, and add the fact that freshman Willem Brandwijk chipped two teeth and suffered a broken nose while diving for a loose ball at practice Monday, and it’s easy to see why Siena is extremely undermanned.
“These are the breaks of the game,” said head coach jimmy Patsos, who wasn’t sure about Brandwijk’s status. “I’m not a doctor.
“We have enough players. It’s funny, though, because I was going over the notes, and I remember Silas having such a great game against Cornell last year. How quickly things change.
“But we have no excuses. We have enough guys to put on the floor. Marquis Wright is playing very well, and Maurice White is also playing well, and he can play several positions. We’ve got big guards like Rob Poole who can create matchup problems.
“We’re happy to be playing home again at the Times Union Center, and we’ll give it our best shot.”
The 3-6 Saints are down to eight scholarship players, but four of them — Poole (17 points), Wright (14), Ryan Oliver (11) and freshmen center Javion Ogunyemi (10 points, eight rebounds) scored in double digits during last week’s loss at Radford.
Siena has lost three straight games for the first time since the 2013 Old Spice Classic.
“I know Cornell is a good team. They’ve got a local kid from CBA who is coming home to play, and if I was here at the time, I would have recruited him,” said Patsos.
Shonn Miller tops the 5-5 Big Red in scoring (15 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg), while 6-2 senior guard Galal Cancer, from CBA, produces 11.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
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Categories: College Sports