It started with a flat note from the trumpet section, but the Siena men’s basketball team cranked out a beautiful symphony against Boise State on Monday night.
On the first play of the game, senior Kenny Hasbrouck stole the ball and missed an open layup, but a tone of defensive ferocity had been set. The Saints forced turnovers on Boise State’s first five possessions and never let up, running the Broncos off the floor from start to finish in an 82-52 romp to open the 2008-09 season in front of 6,626 at the Times Union Center.
Hasbrouck scored 20 points, freshman Kyle Downey had 14 and six players scored eight for Siena, which didn’t have anyone play more than 24 minutes.
The graduated Tay Fisher returned to help unfurl the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship banner at halftime, and after an almost flawless game, Hasbrouck was left to explain the first play of the game.
“Alright, I’m going to tell you honestly what happened,” he said, laughing. “I’m open, I’m
going to try to dunk it. I thought, ‘I ain’t all that warmed up yet, I’m not that athletic . . . aaaahh, I’m going to lay it up,’ and I just messed up. It went in and out, it wasn’t a horrible layup. Whatever. I got another layup right after.”
Yes, he did, and so did Alex Franklin, who stole the ball and slammed it through to get the crowd going. Hasbrouck followed with a steal he got by running down a wayward Boise State lob pass back out to center court, and he laid it in for a 4-0 lead and a timeout by Boise State head coach Greg Graham.
Whatever he told his team had no effect on the Saints’ mindset, as sophomore center Ryan Rossiter stole the ball to set up free throws for Franklin, and junior point guard Ronald Moore nearly came up with a steal, but had to settle for a backcourt violation by the Broncos.
Near the midway point in the first half, the Saints started making three-pointers, Fisher’s old specialty. Six different Saints made one as Siena took a 47-28 halftime lead.
Boise State never got closer than 19 in the second half.
“That put them on their heels from the get-go,” said Moore, who finished with six assists and no turnovers. “They felt our pressure, and couldn’t get into their offense as smoothly as they wanted to. It led to fast-break dunks and easy points, and got the crowd involved and got us going.”
“They’re a quick-up team,”
Siena head coach Fran McCaffery said. “They want to get it and go. We wanted to pressure up so they couldn’t get the ball down the floor quickly. I think that disrupted them a little bit. They couldn’t get into their secondary [break], they couldn’t get into their sets. We kept the heat on, the crowd got involved, we got some runout layups.”
“We know how they play, I just don’t think our guys were ready for the intensity of it,” Boise State head coach Greg Graham said.
As fiercely as the Saints’ starters played, the bench was able to maintain it and prevent Boise State from having any gasp of life at any point.
The Broncos’ Kurt Cunningham scored four points in a 6-0 run to pull Boise State within 18-13 midway through the first half, but Hasbrouck triggered an 8-0 run with two free throws and a tough basket inside.
McCaffery started getting some of his reserves into the game at that point, and Downey made a three-pointer for a 31-19 lead, followed by two free throws from Franklin.
Downey made two from the line to start a 7-0 run that included a dunk set up by Rossiter’s block and a three-pointer by Moore.
Sophomore Clarence Jackson made a three for a 43-24 lead, Franklin stole the ball and slammed it and Hasbrouck made a driving shot just before the buzzer for a 47-28 lead.
Moore and freshman Owen Wignot hit three-pointers during a 15-6 run to start the second half.
“Whenever we got tired, we just came out, and the bench kept it going,” Hasbrouck said.
“As first games go, I couldn’t be happier with our defensive intensity and our pressure, particularly at the start of both halves,”
McCaffery said. “And we were able to sustain our defensive intensity when we went to our bench, which is very important. You didn’t see a big dropoff when we went to our bench. That’s, obviously, the plan.
“I felt like our team would come out with the right frame of mind. Typically, that happens when you have a mature group. Young kids, you never know what they’re going to do. My concern was not how that starting five would start the game, but when I go with Wignot, Downey, Jackson, Eric Harris . . . how does that group fare? They were tremendous.”
Hasbrouck might take some ribbing for missing the first layup of the game, but his defensive intensity clearly rubs off on the rest of the team.
“We do see it every day, and the reason for that is Kenny Hasbrouck,” McCaffery said. “Not to take anything away from Ronald Moore or Alexander Franklin, but when your senior captain plays as hard as he does every possession, every day, the others just come with him.”
Senior Josh Duell, who has missed three weeks of practice with an Achilles’ tendon injury, played three minutes in the first half.
BOISE STATE (52)
Okoye 3-8 2-2 8, Noonan 0-3 0-0 0, Sanchez 4-6 6-8 14, Greene 2-10 0-0 4, Thomas 4-9 2-3 12, Rouse 0-2 0-0 0, Garner 1-4 0-0 2, Imadiyi 2-2 2-4 6, Anderson 0-5 0-0 0, Moritz 0-1 0-0 0, Cunningham 2-2 2-2 6. Totals:
18-52 14-19 52.
Rossiter 4-6 0-0 8, Franklin 2-4 4-6 8, Ubiles 3-10 1-2 8, Moore 3-8 0-0 8, Hasbrouck 7-10 5-8 20, Fenlon 0-0 0-0 0, Downey 3-5 7-8 14, Duell 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson 3-9 1-5 8, Wignot 2-7 2-2 8, Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Priestley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 27-62 20-31 82.
Halftime: Siena 47, Boise State 28. Three-point goals: Boise State 2-17 (Noonan 0-3, Greene 0-4, Thomas 2-4, Garner 0-3,
Anderson 0-3); Siena 8-22 (Ubiles 1-2, Moore 2-5, Hasbrouck 1-2, Downey 1-2, Jackson
1-6, Wignot 2-5). Rebounds: Boise State 38 (Okoye 13); Siena 41 (Wignot 7). Assists: Boise State 8 (Noonan, Thomas 2); Siena 11 (Moore 6). Total fouls: Boise State 22; Siena 19. Attendance: 6,626.