ALBANY, N.Y. - Siena senior guard Kyle Downey scored a career-high 28 points and junior forward OD Anosike posted his 22nd double-double of the year with 16 points and 16 rebounds as the host Saints defeated Canisius College 86-75 Sunday afternoon in the Times Union Center. The win allowed Siena to finish the regular season with a 13-16 overall record and an 8-10 mark in MAAC play, while the Golden Griffins slipped to 5-24 overall and 1-17 in conference action.
Canisius junior Harold Washington led the Griffs with 27 points, while fellow junior Alshwan Hymes posted 19 points and tied a career-high with five steals. Junior Gaby Belardo added 13 points in the losing cause, while sophomore Reggie Groves came off the bench and chipped in 12 points with a career-high eight rebounds. For the game, Canisius shot 42.9 percent from the field, highlighted by a 56.7 percent effort in the second half, and the team was charged with just nine turnovers, but Siena held a 45-29 advantage on the glass and out scored the Griffs 40-28 in the paint.
Siena led Canisius by a 14-10 count seven minutes into the contest before Groves drilled a deep 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 14-13 with 12:39 left before the half. From there, the Saints out scored Canisius 9-0 to take a 10-point hold at 23-13 with 9:42 left before halftime, with that run being capped on a baseline jumper by senior Owen Wignot. Canisius got within seven points at 29-22 moments later thanks to a pair of charity tosses by Washington with 6:59 left before the break, but Siena again went on another scoring run, this time a 13-2 spurt over 3:42 that put the Saints up 42-24 with 2:56 left before halftime. Siena held a 46-29 lead at intermission after the home team shot 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point land in the game's opening stanza.
In the second half, the Griffs trailed by as many as 22 points in the opening five minutes of play, but the Blue and Gold fought back and cut the Siena cushion to just 12 with 3:02 left in the game after Belardo knocked down a baseline jumper in the middle of the paint. On the next possession, Siena came up empty, but Canisius turned the ball over on its end of the floor and Siena senior Brandon Walters slammed one down to end the Griffs' rally and essentially seal the victory for the home team. Siena freshman Evan Hymes scored 12 points and dished out three assists in the win for the Saints, while freshman Rob Poole chipped in 10 points off the bench.
"Siena shot the ball incredibly
well in the first half and managed to take a double-digit lead at halftime
Although we had good open looks, we failed to capitalize," Canisius head
coach Tom Parrotta said. "Their
size and strength once again was the difference and they really controlled the
backboards and the paint. Our guys dug deep and found a way to get back in the
game but it was too much to overcome. We sped up the game and played primarily
an aggressive man-to-man defense in the second half, which enabled us to get
into striking distance but we ultimately fell short.
"We look forward to a second season and having a great week of practice as we prepare to head to the MAAC Tournament in Springfield."
Canisius will return to action Friday, March 2, at 9:30 p.m., when the team meets long-time rival Niagara in the first round of the 2012 MAAC Tournament in Springfield, Mass. This will mark the first time these two Western New York rivals have played in the MAAC Tournament since the 2002 MAAC Tournament semifinals in Albany.
Game Notes: This was the 87th all-time meeting between the two teams, with Siena holding a 50-37 lead in the series... Canisius has now dropped eight-straight games against Siena in the Times Union Center... Washington's 27 points marks the ninth time this season he has scored 20-or more points in a game... Hymes finished the regular season with 82 3-pointers, which is a new single-season record for the program... Groves' eight rebounds bested his previous career high of six boards in a game, which he was credited with two times, most recently at St. Bonaventure Dec. 10, 2011... Sophomore Chris Manhertz played in his 50th career game on Sunday.