Looking to avoid a season sweep in the Route 9 rivalry, the Marist men’s basketball team got a big performance from big man Adam Kemp in a 76-74 win over Siena in the Times Union Center in Albany.
Kemp, matched up with Siena’s O.D. Anosike on his senior day, scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Red Foxes is both categories.
“I would just say it’s a culmination of what I’ve been doing over the past few days getting myself prepared mentally and physically,” Kemp said. “I know that O.D. is a really good player I’ve had really good battles with him in the past, so it’s really a combination of mental and physical preparedness that showed today.”
Marist won despite Siena head coach Mitch Buonaguro calling it the Saints’ “best offensive game of the year,” and giving credit to Kemp for being much improved since the last game, which Siena won 79-75.
Marist head coach Chuck Martin attributed the team’s win to an improvement in the team’s composure, especially down the stretch.
“I was most proud of composure not just on the free throw line,” Martin said. “We ran some really good sets but you can’t run them if the guys on the floor don’t have composure and they don’t execute. It was really fun to sit there and watch these guys develop and grow under pressure on the road, in a really good atmosphere and execute under tremendous pressure.”
Both teams were able to score at ease in the paint in the first half, when Kemp contributed 14 of his 24 points. On three three-pointers from Price Marist took its first lead since the opening minutes with 1:44 to go in the half, but the Saints took a 36-35 edge into the locker rooms on a Trinity Burdine lay-in after a Marist turnover with six seconds left.
The two teams then traded baskets for the majority of the second half. Marist went on a 7-0 run that included an alley-oop from Price to Kemp, but Siena immediately responded with two O.D. Anosike lay-ins. Marist built up another five-point lead a few minutes later after a second alley-oop from Price to Kemp, and the Red Foxes took their biggest lead of the game at that point at six.
The Saints cut the lead to one on an Evan Hymes three, forcing Martin to call timeout with 4:14 to play, and O.D. Anosike tied the game at 68 with 3:18 to go on an old-fashioned three point play. The Red Foxes responded with alley-oop number three of the game, this one from Bowie to Kemp. Burdine tied it on the Saints’ next possession.
With under a minute to go, Marist extended a possession with rebounds after two misses, Jay Bowie converted on a lay-in. Bowie then fouled Davis Martens with 27.2 seconds left, but Martens made one of two. Devin Price converted on two foul shots on the next possession to extend the lead to 74-71. Evan Hymes missed a long three, and Lewis made one of two from the line. Rob Poole made a three with 2.9 to go to keep the Saints’ hopes alive.
Siena then fouled Manny Thomas, who was shooting 41.7 percent from the line this season. He made one of two, giving Siena a shot for the win, but Poole’s half-court shot hit the backboard and the Foxes won 76-74.
For the Foxes, Devin Price contributed 18 points, including 4-6 from three-point range, on 34 minutes off the bench. Chavaughn Lewis added 17 points, and Jay Bowie chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.
Anosike scored 16 points and brought down 9 rebounds, but was sitting on the bench down the stretch. Buonaguro said he was not feeling well. Burdine, Poole and Martens were all in double figures for the Saints as well.
The Red Foxes and Saints will likely not have to wait long for a rematch, as according to the current MAAC standings the two will face off in the first round.
Next up, Marist will play its final game of the season, as the Red Foxes will take on Fairfield in the McCann Arena on Senior Day, Sunday at 2:00 p.m.