The last time the Saints played a meaningful game on the floor of the Times Union Center, fans were rushing on the court as the Saints clinched their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance with an overtime win over Fairfield.
Among Buonaguro’s assets include Preseason MAAC Player of the Year Ryan Rossiter and senior Clarence Jackson. However, the Saints will be without Kyle Downey who hurt himself in practice last week. Downey, who started in the NCAA Tournament game against Purdue last year and scored 6 points on 2 of 10 shooting, was expected to see more playing time after leading the Western New York team to the gold medal of the Empire State Games this past summer.
Siena will have plenty of time to develop younger players this season including sophomore O.D. Anosike who scored 10 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Siena’s exhibition win over Adelphi on October 30th. The Saints will allow LaSalle transfer junior Kyle Griffin to run the point who has had a positive assist to turnover ratio in limited playing time at both schools thus far.
Meanwhile the Catamounts, under sixth year head coach Mike Lonergan, lose their top players Marqus Blakely, Maurice Joseph, Nick Vier and Garvey Young in a group that made the NCAA Tournament last year. That depleted experience led to Vermont being picked fifth in their preseason poll. The Catamounts return preseason all-conference senior Evan Fjeld who helped carry the offense late in the season to lead them to their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. Fjeld is the only returning starter will be assisted by UMass transfer Matt Glass who scored 20 points in Vermont’s 69-60 win over Division II school St. Michael’s.
Not only has the roster received an adjustment, so has Siena’s home court. Fans will see new video boards and a brand new game presentation – which not only includes new video presentation but includes luxury courtside seats and different Siena student fan placement. Siena has extended its presence at the Times Union Center by two years and will play there until the 2015-16 season according to the Albany Business Review.
Fun Facts: The last time the Saints and Catamounts squared off was January 2, 2006 in Fran McCaffery’s first season. The Saints beat the Catamounts on the road 76-65 behind an 18 point performance by freshman Kenny Hasbrouck. Future Saint Josh Duell, who played for Vermont at the time before transferring to Siena, scored 11 points.
Siena is 18-5 all time against Vermont dating back to their first meeting during the 1946-47 season. The last time Siena lost its home opener was November 29, 2006 to Hofstra 84-80.