Saints need to stay aggressive

Attack the rim. That’s the way Siena’s offense has been able to lead the Metro Atlantic Athletic Con

Attack the rim. That’s the way Siena’s offense has been able to lead the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in free throws made per game at 18.4 — good for third in the nation.

It’s also how the Saints must play to have any chance of beating Rider tonight at 7 at the Times Union Center.

“It’s very important for us to drive to the basket as much as possible,” said sophomore guard Marquis Wright. “We don’t always get the calls, and sometimes, that’s frustrating. But we have to keep playing hard, no matter what.”

Wright added that there is another key component to the Saints’ attack mode.

“We must execute at the line and make our free throws once we get there,” he said. “We have to start to build something positive for the rest of the season. We still have a chance to do something.”

The Saints are 5-6 in the MAAC and 8-12 overall, while Rider is 8-3 and 14-8. There are eight games left in the regular season after tonight, and that includes three home games. But the Saints will also enjoy the home-court advantage in the MAAC tournament this year, as they will be the hosts.

Although Siena’s mantra has been to attack on offense, second-year head coach Jimmy Patsos is more concerned with the other part of the team’s game plan — to defend.

“It’s great that we’re getting to the line a lot, but we also have to defend, especially the three-point basket,” he said.

Opponents have made 39.6 percent of their three-pointers against Siena this season. That’s the highest percentage in the MAAC and the 11th highest in Division I.

Patsos said that even though Siena lost at Manhattan Friday night, he was happy with his team’s performance.

“We learned a lot Friday, now we have to see if it translates to [tonight],” he said. “We played well, and I thought we defended much better against the three-point shot, even though they still made nine against us. At least we had our hands up on defense.”

“Friday night’s game was tough,” said Wright. “First, we lost Javion [Ogunyemi] when he fouled out with about eight minutes left, and then I fouled out myself. We still played tough against them, but we have to win these games.”

Rob Poole, a senior guard, continues to lead the Saints in scoring at 14.7 points per game.

Wright, who is second in the league in assists (4.9 per game), is also averaging 12.7 ppg and has scored in double figures in four of his last five games.

Siena placed five players in double figures scoring for the fifth time this season Friday, as freshman Jimmy Paige scored a career-high 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the floor.

Patsos said that there still hasn’t been a decision on when sophomore forward Brett Bisping, who has been out with an injured toe, will return to the lineup. The first week of February was the original target date, but Patsos said Bisping has yet to go all out in practice.

Categories: College Sports

Leave a Reply