ALBANY, N.Y. - Siena College guard Rakeem Brookins' 3-pointer as the final horn sounded helped lift the host Saints to a 57-54 win over the Canisius College men's basketball team Friday night in the Times Union Center. The 3-point field, Brookins' second of the night, ended a furious rally for the Saints as they overcame a 13-point second-half deficit to snap an 11-game losing streak and improve to 3-13 overall and 1-4 in MAAC play, while the Golden Griffins slipped to 10-6 overall and 3-2 in conference action.
The Griffs had three players score in double figures in the loss, led by senior Isaac Sosa, who had a team-high 13 points in the loss. Junior Billy Baron added 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds, while senior Harold Washington chipped in 12 points and six boards for the Blue and Gold, which shot 38.9 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from 3-point land for the contest. Junior Chris Manhertz had five points and a game-high 10 rebounds for Canisius as the Griffs outrebounded the Saints by a 36-31 clip, but Siena ended the night by turning 14 Canisius turnovers into 16 points.
"We had a chance to put them away when we were up 13 points and we turned the ball over way too much tonight," Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. "You've gotta keep playing. We didn't do that. Their guards made shots, and [Evan] Hymes was a real big key for them with 20 points. Some of those shots he hit were from real deep. But we had a chance to pull it out in the end and we just made too many mistakes and gave the ball away too many times."
Siena sophomore Evan Hymes scored a game-high 20 points in the win for Siena, which snapped a six-game losing streak at home with the victory. Hymes went 8-for-12 from the field, 4-for-6 from 3-point range and also added four rebounds and three assists to his final stat line. Brookins had 13 for Siena, which ended the night shooting 41.3 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from 3-point range and 52.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Canisius led for nearly 35 minutes before Siena took its first lead with 5:07 left on the clock as Hymes hit a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key to make the score 50-49 in favor of the home team. Canisius junior Jordan Heath gave the lead right back to the Griffs moments later as he pulled down an offensive rebound and laid one over the front iron to make the score 51-50 in favor of Canisius with 3:54 left to play. Siena guard Ryan Oliver hit a trey from the top of the key with 2:43 left on the clock to give Siena the lead back, but Canisius again answered when Heath drilled a 3-pointer of his own from the top of the key to make the score 54-53 in favor of the Blue and Gold.
After the two teams traded missed shots, Siena came down the floor and Brookins got to the free-throw line as he drove to the hoop and drew a foul call. Brookins hit one of his two charity tosses to knot the game at 54-54 with 1:07 left setting up the final sequence that allowed Siena to walk away with its first MAAC win of the season.
Canisius missed a 3-point chance with 46 seconds left but Manhertz was able to pull down the rebound and kick the ball to Baron on the left wing. Baron made a move to get open and missed a 3-point shot, and the Saints pulled down the board and raced to the other end of the floor with less than 10 ticks left. Brookins looked as if he was about to stop and call a timeout, however he continued toward the left sideline and pulled up from about 25 feet, with his shot going through the hoop as the horn sounded to seal the win.
The Griffs shot 43.3 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from 3-point land in the game's first 20 minutes to jump out to a 34-27 lead at the intermission. In the second half, Canisius pushed its hold to a dozen at 40-28 with 16:35 left on the clock after Sosa drained a 3-point field goal from the far corner off a pass from Baron. Siena was able to whittle the Griffs' margin down to eight points at 40-32 with 14:34 left in the game, but a driving hoop from Baron and a 3-pointer from Washington put the Blue and Gold up 45-32 with 12:18 left to play. Down the stretch, Siena outscored the Griffs 25-9 as the Blue and Gold went just 3-for-14 from the floor in the game's final 12:03.
Canisius will close out its weekend road trip on Sunday, Jan. 13, when the team plays at Iona in New Rochelle, N.Y. Game time in the Hynes Athletic Center is set for 2 p.m.Game Notes: Siena has won four straight over Canisius and now leads the all-time series 51-37... The Griffs have not beaten the Saints in the Times Union Center since Jan. 17, 2005, a span of nine games... The last time the Griffs lost on a buzz-beater prior to Friday's defeat was Feb. 16, 2011 at Niagara... Canisius got to the free-throw line a season-low six times in the loss, making just four of those charity tosses... Sosa has hit 40 3-pointers in the team's last 10 games, and he's now scored in double figures in nine of the team's last 10 games... Baron, who started the night as the MAAC's leader in assists per game average, has now dished out five or more assists in six of the team's last seven outings... Manhertz has had double-digit rebounds in three-straight games and he held the nation's top rebounder, Siena's O.D. Anosike, to seven boards for the contest.