The regular season is almost over, but the excitement is really heating up for the Red Foxes. Marist and Siena add another chapter to their rivalry tonight when they face off in Albany at 7:00 p.m. Live audio will be available for the game on goredfoxes.com. Marist is coming off their historic win over VMI last Saturday that saw the foxes put up 112 points, the return of Devin Price from injury and Chavaughn Lewis putting up a MAAC player of the week performance. Siena is coming off a thrilling OT win over Radford that snapped a 5 game losing streak. The MAAC tournament is right around the corner and both squads are looking to close out the regular season with as much momentum as possible.
Last Time These Teams Met: Siena 79 Marist 75
Siena’s Last Time Out: 65-57 Win (OT) Vs Radford on February 24th
Siena’s Leading Scorer: O.D. Anosike 12.7 ppg
Siena’s Record: 7-21 (4-12)
Siena’s win over Radford was filled with drama. The Saints were down 8 with less than a minute to play when a late run sent the game to overtime and eventually saw the green and yellow come away with the W. Siena was lead once again by their star player O.D. Anosike who posted yet another double double in an 11 point 14 rebound effort. Other usual suspects for Siena, Trenity Burdine and Rob Poole also scored double figures with 13 and 12 points respectively. This trio gave the Red Foxes some real trouble in their meeting earlier this year and it will take a real solid defensive effort to slow them down this time.
One position that looked very different for Siena in their last game was point guard. Starter Randy Hymes was sidelined with an ankle injury he sustained in practice and was unable to suit up. In his place freshman Chris Leppanen got the start and played well. Leppanen had 7 points and 7 assists while committing only 2 turnovers. The 6 foot first year Saint gives Siena a very different looking back court than when the generously listed 5’8″ Hymes is in the lineup.
Hymes is a score first kind of point guard who is averaging 11 points and 3.5 assists this year. Despite his small stature he can be a real force when he gets rolling as anyone who saw the first match-up between these teams can attest to. Hymes is listed as probable for this game and will likely come off the bench if he is able to go.
The real key to this game is how Marist handles the 6’8″ Anosike. In the first meeting of these teams this year the senior put up an absurd 20 point 21 rebound effort. He also contributed 5 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals for good measure. Anosike is Siena’s top scorer and overall best player. The Red Foxes will need all three of their centers (Adam Kemp, Pieter Prinsloo and Eric Truog) to step up and contribute in this game, particularly on the defensive end of the floor if they hope to come back to Poughkeepsie victorious.
Fortunately for Marist the big men have been playing well as of late. Adam Kemp was a recent MAAC player of the week and has been absolutely dominant over certain stretches in the past month. Pieter Prinsloo tied a career high in points in the win over VMI the other day while looking sharp in all facets of the game. Truog has also been a reliable rotation player when Coach Martin has called his number in the last month or so.
Aside from the solid play by the Marist bigs, another big factor for the Red Foxes is the fact that this will be the first MAAC game where every scholarship player can play since February, The game against VMI was the first time in a long time Devin Price and Jay Bowie were on the court at the same time and the results speak for themselves. Siena stands to put up more of a fight than VMI did but still, hanging 112 points on any team in regulation is nothing to scoff at.
Price had 20 points off the bench and finished an almost perfect 7-8 from the field. Bowie had his typical game where the stats don’t jump off the page but his impact on the team when he is on the court is undeniable.
Then of course there is Mr. Showtime himself, Chavaughn Lewis, who went for 30 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. Lewis did all of his work efficiently shooting 12-17 from the field and had already compiled a double-double before the end of the first half.
Marist seems to be heating up at just the right time, much like they did last season. Ever since they lost to Rider back on February 3rd they are 3-2, with those 2 losses coming by a combined 7 points. They took down top conference teams Iona and Loyola back to back while only losing to #1 seeded Niagara by 3 points. Their complete domination of VMI only reinforces the point that this is a team that seems to finally be hitting their stride. Siena on the other hand is 1-5 in their last 6 and have hardly even been competitive in the games they’ve lost during that time.
Siena will benefit from the home court advantage that is so important in MAAC conference basketball, but with the way things seem to be clicking for Marist right now that may not be enough. Both teams have had disappointing seasons but Coach Martin’s bunch is starting to play like the team we thought they would be before the season started while Siena has continued to flounder. Look for another close score between these rivals, but it seems like Marist is poised to collect their 9th win of the season.
Marist Probable Starting Line-up Siena Probable Starting Line-up
#11 Isaiah Morton 5-8 Guard #20 Chris Leppanen 6-0 Guard
#32 T.J. Curry 6-1 Guard #33 Rob Poole 6-5 Guard
#40 Chavaughn Lewis 6-5 Guard/Forward #2 Trenity Burdine 6-6 Forward
#20 Jay Bowie 6-5 Forward #1 O.D. Anosike 6-8 Forward
#50 Adam Kemp 6-10 Center #34 Imoh Silas 6-8 Center