GAME THREAD: Siena vs FAU - 12/28/11 @ 7:00PM
GAME THREAD: Siena vs FAU - 12/28/11 @ 7:00PM
What: Siena College (4-7, 0-2 MAAC) vs FAU (4-8, 0-0 SBC)
When: Wednesday, Dec. 28th @ 7:00 PM EST
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: None
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
Saints Team Site: Here
G Evan Hymes 15.0 ppg
G Kyle Downey 12.9 ppg
F Owen Wignot 3.5 ppg
F OD Anosike 13.0 ppg
C Brandon Walters 6.2 ppg
G Ray Taylor 9.8 ppg
G Greg Gantt 12.9 ppg
G Omari Grier 10.8 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 10.0 ppg
F Kore White 10.0 ppg
Facing off just once previously, the Saints enjoy a 1-0 lead in the series. Last time out, FAU cut a 15 point deficit late in the second half to just a single possession (69-67) with 51 seconds remaining. However, a 4-of-21 (19%) showing from long range, including a desperation heave at the horn by Alex Tucker, would be the ultimate factor allowing Siena to take the game 72-69. This all despite holding the Saints without a field goal for the last 4:35 of the contest.
Siena at a Glance:
Now down to just seven scholarship players, the Saints roster has been swathed to say the least. Forward Trenity Burdine (foot, 2.6 ppg), guard Rakeem Brookins (back, 9.0 ppg, 3.8 apg), and forward Davis Martens (hip surgery, 2.2 ppg) have all missed the entire year thus far. Burdine is the only player who may return at a later date pending medical clearance. Compounding matters was the recent decision of freshman guard Davonte Beard to transfer on the heels of Siena's 74-59 loss to Fordham. Add in eligibility problems for two others, and well, you get the picture.
Like the Owls, the Saints are coming off an Ivy League contest. But the outcome was different, as Siena slid past 2010-11 Ivy League Champion Princeton in a 63-59 victory at the Times Union Center. Leading scorer Evan Hymes (15 ppg) was named MAAC Rookie of the Week Monday by the league office after sinking 22 points for the tilt. Hymes went 7-of-13 from the floor and a near perfect 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Just arriving on the team in early June, he's done a solid job of learning the system quickly after the injury incurred by Brookins.
His back court counterpart in Kyle Downey is also picking up some slack while boasting a 20 point, 5.7 rebound average over the last three games. After accounting for just just 6.2 ppg for all of last year, he's done a nice job filling in for the loss of former standout Clarence Jackson (14.7 ppg 2010-11).
In the front court, 6-8 forward OD Anosike is a force to be reckoned with. With seven straight double-doubles, Anosike's 11.9 rpg leads the MAAC and is currently tied for second nationally.
But, at 28.5% on the year, the Saints are not going to beat you from the three point line. And depth is a concern with 60.8% of all points coming from the above three players, who average out at just under 36 minutes per outing collectively.
Siena is 1-3 in road match-ups, and five of their seven losses on the year have come by seven points or less.
The Saints are 3-1 all time against current Sun Belt conference members.
FAU at a Glance:
After losing three straight and five of the last six, the Owls are probably just glad to be coming back to FAU Arena for a contest. Afterall, the road has not be particularly kind to them thus far (2-8). Although you have to make solid decisions no matter where you play.
"We're losing games right now from the neck-up at key times in the game", said coach Mike Jarvis.
Regardless, things just became a bit more balanced for the Owls. Thus far the squad has participated in what Jarvis has often dubbed an “NBA Road Schedule” - 10 games away from FAU Arena and just two therein.
Beginning with the Saints, Florida Atlantic will close the rest of the season out on the plus side with nine contests in Boca Raton and eight away.
This sets up the most meaningful portion of the schedule (conference play) nicely and should also pay some dividends in the win column as well. Fans may be somewhat disappointed in the results at 4-8, but have to take into account the brutal stretch which began matters as well.
"Records don't mean everything," Jarvis said. "Who you play and how well you play is more important most of the time than your record. We play one of the most competitive non-league schedules in the country and there were just two games where we really didn't play as well as I would like."
Concluding a three game stretch against post season talent last Thursday was a disappointing 63-51 loss to Harvard, in which the Owls had the Crimson on the ropes for the entire game - set aside the last 10 minutes in which they posted only six points.
"Too much dribbling, too much dribbling, too much dribbling", commented Jarvis on the late game breakdown. "We didn't get some contributions out of guys that we needed to. Kore was still in Fort Lauderdale, Pablo didn't play well, Omari didn't play well, and everybody's go to to show up - everybody's got to play."
Hoisting up 3-of-17 long balls didn't help either; and just after things seemed to have gotten pretty solid from downtown on the heels of terrific performance against Warner and Miami.
But there good news to be had along that front as Greg Gantt will make his return against Siena. Jarvis recently shared that the end goal is to have Gantt, Omari Grier, and Ray Taylor all on the floor at the same time time - making it pretty difficult for opponents to defend the wings. He is one step closer to that with Gantt's return, although the junior may need a little time to adjust having been away from the court for a bit of time.
"We'll come back out and be ready for Siena. We'll have Greg back and we'll see what happens then", said Jarvis who is 3-6 all time against the Saints.
Looking at overall point production, with Taylor at 9.8 ppg, the Owls are just .2 points away from having all five projected starters in double figures.
Upping the success rate at the stripe, Grier is a perfect 14-of-14 from the free throw line on the year. He'll need a few more to meet rankings considerations, but is currently sitting second in the Sun Belt in three's per game with 2.8, and ranks fifth in 3 PT proficiency (45.2%).
Alex Tucker's 3:1 assist to turnover ratio is good for tops in the league.
Owl's Nest Prediction
FAU has revenge on their minds, and that should be enough motivation in itself.
However, for the Saints it's going to be like racing a relay without being able to hand off, while the Owls have a whole bench full waiting to take the baton.
Additionally, Siena's front court isn't what it was last year without Ryan Rossiter (18.7 ppg, 13.2 rpg), and neither is the back court.
This all equals good news for Florida Atlantic, who should take the contest in no holes barred fashion.
Re: Game Preview: Siena vs FAU - 12/28/11 @ 7:00PM
Siena is pretty good. I don't see them covering. Not till they put some win streaks together. there will be no crowd factor either. right there that should bring the line down to -5.5