Siena junior forward OD Anosike posted his 19th double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds and senior guard Kyle Downey chipped in 15 points and seven boards to help lift the visiting Saints to a 60-50 win over Canisius College Saturday afternoon in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win snapped Siena's four-game losing streak and improved the team to 11-14 overall and 6-9 in the MAAC, while the Golden Griffins fell to 4-21 overall and 1-14 in league play.
Canisius junior guard Harold Washington scored a game-high 16 points in the loss for the Blue and Gold, with 13 of those points coming in the game's second half. Fellow junior Gaby Belardo scored 13 points in 18 minutes of action after he went 5-for-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range to go with four rebounds, but his time was limited in the second half because of his lower back injury. Junior Alshwan Hymes added eight points and freshman Josiah Heath posted four points, a team-high seven rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal in the loss.
Siena finished the game with a 39-33 advantage on the glass, with Anosike and senior Brandon Walters accounting for 21 of the team's 39 boards. The Saints were able to turn 15 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points and Siena ended up out scoring Canisius by a 42-18 clip in points scored in the paint.
"I think Anosike was the biggest difference in the game today, any time they needed a basket, he was there with a second-chance points with a rebound and a putback," Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta said. Our [forwards] got in foul trouble early and he just kind of took over in the paint. He's a big kid, he's battle-tested and when he is as effective as he was today, they play that much better."
Siena led 22-17 with 9:27 left before the halftime break before Belardo nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Griffs up 23-22 with 8:14 left in the half. From there, the Blue and Gold would score just three more points before intermission, and Siena took advantage, using a 15-3 run to close out the first stanza to take a 37-26 lead into the locker room at halftime. Siena came out in the second half and picked up where it left off, outscoring the Blue and Gold 6-2 in the first 5:24 of the second stanza to take a 15-point lead at 43-28 with 14:36 left in regulation time.
Canisius trailed by as many as 19 in the second half, as Downey hit Anosike with a pass through the lane with 4:47 left in the game to make the score 58-39 in favor of the Saints. Down the stretch, Canisius was able to cut into Siena's hold as Washington scored six straight for the Griffs and senior Marial Dhal and Heath scored in the paint to make the score 60-49 with 48 seconds left. In the second half, Canisius shot 40 percent from the field and held Siena to 33.3 percent from the floor and 16.7 percent from long-range.
"I thought we had some good looks at the basket and we took some good shots, but we just were not make them," Parrotta said. "It's been our issue all year long really. Today, Gaby gets it going, but we need the other guys to step up too. We'll be back here tomorrow and we'll keep working hard to get this going."
Canisius will return to action Wednesday, Feb. 15, when the team plays at long-time rival Niagara. Game time in the Gallagher Center is set for 7 p.m.Game Notes: This was the 87th all-time meeting between these two schools, with Siena holding a 50-37 all-time lead in the series... Washington's 16 points gives him 15-or more points in 16 games this season... Belardo is now averaging 16.7 points per game in three career contests against Siena... In those three games against the Saints, Belardo is shooting 60 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from 3-point range... Heath led the team in rebounding for the eighth time this year... He is averaging 5.6 rebounds per game in the Griffs' last nine contests, dating back to Jan. 15, against Saint Peter's... Hymes' two made shots from 3-point land gives his 156 for his career and 85 against MAAC rivals.