Whether it’s playing three games in five days, whether it’s a short bench or lack of experience, the Siena Saints have had trouble getting out to good starts and staying in games late. After getting down to a 19 point deficit and committing 10 turnovers in the first half there were no moral victories for the Saints tonight, and they didn’t need one as they came back to break a five losing streak to win The Albany Cup back against UAlbany 64-60.
Evan Hymes made three pointer after three pointer scoring 19 points in a first half that was a game of runs. The Saints had one of their better starts in their last five games, running out to a 7-2 lead, but UAlbany went on a 13-0 run behind a hot shooting Mike Black who had 13 points in the first half.
The Saints stemmed the tide for a bit, but after going on an 11-0 run the Great Danes would run their lead up to 31-12. The Saints would have another run of their own, getting the score back to 31-23, but turnovers plagued them again for the second straight game. With time running out, Evan Hymes came up with yet another bomb from deep with time running out in the half to get the Saints down only 37-29 at the half.
Siena came out strong in the second half punctuated by a monster jam by OD Anosike on the first possession to get the score to 37-31. That would cap a 19-6 run for the Saints going back to the first half. After another big jam by OD, Rob Poole would drain a three to cut the deficit to three at 40-37.
The Saints would tie the game with 12:13 left to go when OD went up to the basket, lost it, then put it back and got fouled. OD would complete the three point play to even the score at 44-44. Brandon Walters then stepped up as the Saints’ other big man down low to extend the lead to 50-46.
The turning point of the game, though, occurred at the 9 minute mark when Mike Black was called for a flagrant foul against Kyle Downey at the top of the key. Downey would go the the line and sink both free throws, and while the Danes would pressure the Saints the rest of the way, the Saints had just enough to hold on for the win.
OD Anosike, who had a slow start to the season offensively, had his best game in the Green and Gold, scoring 21 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. Brandon Walters, who had a strong start overall to the year but faltered the last few games, came back strong with a double double of his own. And while he had his miscues early, Kyle Downey’s senior leadership down the stretch was invaluable. Evan Hymes continued to impress, and while he’s only a freshman is proving to be the catalyst to the team.
The halftime numbers were virtually even except for the Saints giving up 6 more turnovers than the Danes, and the Saints would wind up dominating the game on the boards. Siena stepped up in the second half and came through with not just a much needed win, but a big win against their crosstown rival. The Saints will look to continue their winning ways against UMASS on Friday night.