Two of the most prolific scorers in Siena College basketball history play their final regular-season home game tonight against Manhattan, and neither one wants to dwell on it.
Both of the Saints’ graduating seniors, Rob Poole and Evan Hymes, would rather talk about how they hope to win the remaining three games on their schedule than what it feels like to play one of their final games at the Times Union Center. The other senior, Imoh Silas, is out for the year with an injury and might return next season.
The Saints (7-10 MAAC, 10-16 overall), who appear destined to play in the opening round of the MAAC tournament after losing six of their last eight games, will say goodbye to their senior class before tipping off against the Jaspers (10-6, 13-12). Siena is guaranteed at least one more home game since the college is hosting the MAAC tournament.
“It does feel a little bit different,” said Poole. “It hasn’t hit me quite yet. I’m still trying to make that final push to get a MAAC championship.”
Poole, Siena’s leading scorer at more than 14 points per game, is 11 points shy of breaking into the top 10 on Siena’s all-time scoring list. He has 1,446 points.
“I’m not sure what has to change to help us get a couple of wins, but I’ll come out and do the best I can to make some shots and help us win,” he said.
“I didn’t plan things to come out this way this season, with all the injuries and everything, but I’ve still done a lot of good things here, like helping this team win a CBI championship last year.”
Poole is one of five active players in Division I with 500 rebounds, 200 three-pointers, 200 assists and 100 steals.
Hymes, who has scored 1,278 points, needs just 22 points to become the 11th member of the school’s 1,300-point, 300 assist club. He has 352 helpers so far and is tied for ninth on the all-time career assist chart as well as 11th in career three-pointers (175).
“I haven’t really thought about this being my last regular-season game,” Hymes said. “Both my mother and my father are coming up to see the game, so maybe I’ll think about it once they are here. All I know is that we’ve been fighting hard for the last couple of games, and we want to try to get it going before the tourney starts. We have to play 40 minutes of basketball. Both Rob and I want to be focal leaders on this team, and we are trying to get our guys energized.
“It’s been a journey for Rob and me. I’m blessed to be at Siena. I’ve got a degree, and not many people in my family are every going to get a degree like I’ve got. I’ve had to prove myself that I’m not too small to play this game for a long time. When I’m done at Siena, I’m going to try to do the same thing as a pro.”
Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said he doesn’t get emotional on senior days.
“I’m not that emotional, but I stay in touch with all of my players,” he said. “All of these guys are good kids. Rob Poole and Evan Hymes will leave with 1,000 points and their names on the wall. They have a [CBI] banner and they will get a degree. I’m happy for Evan and Rob for what they’ve accomplished, and I know they both still want to win every game.”
Despite Siena’s 69-63 overtime loss to Canisius Thursday night, Patsos is upbeat.
“They played hard [Thursday] night, and they also played well. Plus, Ryan Oliver was unbelievable. I just wish we could have won so that his career high would have come with a victory.
“What I want to see from these guys is what I saw against Canisius. They didn’t quit, and they didn’t give up.”
Manhattan, which beat Siena, 87-79, in late January at Draddy Gymnasium, is paced by Emmy Andujar (16.5 ppg), Shane Richards (13.6 ppg) and Ashton Pankey (12.9). The Jaspers are known for their fierce fullcourt press.
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Categories: College Sports