Former Siena Saints Ryan Rossiter and Owen Wignot were in the house.
It didn’t hurt, either, that two of Jimmy Patsos’ favorite former Loyola players — Robert Olson and Anthony Winbush — were also there.
With all that extra good karma, the Saints — especially Brett Bisping, again — put together what wasn’t necessarily a smooth game, but a winning one.
Bisping had a Rossiter-like 16 points and 14 rebounds as Siena defeated Marist, 67-58, before 5,864 at the Times Union Center on Friday night, Siena’s fifth straight home win.
The Saints improved to 3-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and 7-9 overall, and stopped a five-game winning streak for the Red Foxes (2-3, 5-10).
“I don’t think we played bad, don’t get me wrong,” Patsos said. “We won, I’m really happy we won, I thought we did a lot of good things, but it wasn’t one of our best games. We still won, which is the sign of a good team.”
In a foul-filled first half, Siena scratched out a 32-25 lead, then used a 11-3 run after the midway point of the second half to take control, 59-45, with 5:35 left.
Evan Hymes hit a three-pointer from the left corner for that lead, fell on his back and was chased up the sideline by Patsos as he spurred him to get back on defense.
Hymes, who finished with 17 points off the bench, put the game away with a tough double-clutch drive off the glass for a 61-48 lead.
It was Bisping, though, who held everything together.
After piling up 20 points and seven rebounds in a win over Rider, the 6-foot-8 sophomore from Peoria, Ill., was 4-for-7 from the field, 8-for-10 from the free-throw line and had 14 rebounds, four of which were on the offensive glass.
“Offensively, I got a lot of easy dump-down passes from the point guards,” Bisping said. “Marquis [Wright] had seven assists, and I think quite a few of those were to me. And I made some free throws.
“I just come out every day and try to play hard. Sometimes, the ball bounces my way. Today, I got a few more rebounds than I normally do, but the ball was bouncing my way. I could tell.”
“Brett Bisping has continued to just carry us,” Patsos said. “He’s a great kid, gets good grades. I think Rossiter told him this summer, ‘Hey, it’s OK to run for Congress, but not for the two hours you’re playing basketball.’ I can tell him that all I want, but Ryan Rossiter, his picture’s on the wall for a reason. Brett bought into that.”
Marist played without starting center and leading rebounder Adam Kemp, who was out with a knee injury and was out of the lineup for the first time in 13 games.
Freshman Khallid Hart scored 22 points for the Red Foxes, including 4-for-8 from three-point range, but Siena kept junior leading scorer Chavaughn Lewis pretty quiet, with 11 points.
“We had gotten used to playing with Adam,” first-year Marist head coach Jeff Bower said. “Now, we have to get used to playing without him. That’s part of every season, when key players get injured. Sometimes, it happens seamlessly; other times, it takes awhile. I think tonight we felt it. Offensively, it was choppy for us all night, but we hung around.”
Each team committed 12 fouls in the first half.
The Saints actually took the lead for good with 4:29 left in the first half, but it was tight until the Saints made their run with nine minutes left in the second half.
The lightning-quick 5-foot-8 Hymes, who got into the paint and to the rim much more in the second half, started that with two free throws, scored a reverse in transition on a feed from Wright and made the three for the 61-48 lead.
“I had the two early turnovers. He [Patsos] told me just be tough with the ball,” Hymes said.
“They came in and gave us all we could ask for,” Patsos said. “I think they outplayed us in the first half. We just had a couple minutes there where we made some shots in the second half.
“Those guys [Rossiter and Wignot] were like, ‘Hey, ugly win, but great win.’ When players say that, you know what they mean, because that could’ve gone either way. Those guys can shoot threes, and they’re going to cause a lot of problems the rest of the way, especially if they get Kemp back.”
Siena’s next game is 2 p.m. Sunday at home against Iona.
Brooks 1-1 0-0 2, Bowie 5-10 0-0 11, Hart 5-12 8-9 22, Curry 1-6 3-4 5, Lewis 4-10 3-5 11, Thomas 0-4 0-0 0, Prinsloo 0-1 2-2 2, Lawrence 1-3 0-0 3, Truog 1-4 0-0 2. Totals: 18-51 16-20 58.
Long 2-4 5-8 9, Bisping 4-7 8-10 16, Silas 0-2 0-0 0, Wright 2-6 0-0n 4, Poole 3-10 7-8 15, Ogunyemi 0-0 1-2 1, Oliver 1-2 0-0 3, Hymes 5-10 6-7 17, Cruz 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, White 0-3 2-2 2, Wolfe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-44 29-37 67.
Three-point goals: Marist 6-20 (Bowie 1-3, Hart 4-8, Curry 0-3, Lewis 0-1, Thomas 0-3, Lawrence 1-2); Siena 4-11 (Bisping 0-1, Wright 0-2, Poole 2-4, Oliver 1-2, Hymes 1-2). Rebounds: Marist 31 (Lawrence 7); Siena 35 (Bisping 14). Assists: Marist 7 (Bowie, Hart 2); Siena 12 (Wright 7). Total fouls: Marist 25; Siena 18. Technical fouls: Hymes, Prinsloo. Attendance: 5,864.