SPRINGFIELD — Siena struggled to keep their composure early with MAAC All-Rookie team member Evan Hymes out of the starting lineup. However, the Saints with Hymes closed the Manhattan lead and took a lead of their own; taking a 41-39 lead in at halftime in the final MAAC Quarterfinal game at the MassMutual Center.
Kyle Downey ran the point for the first three minutes, until Hymes entered with 17:09 left in the game. Hymes made his first three pointer with 13:11 left to cut the Manhattan lead but Junior George Beamon followed it up with his 4th three pointer made in as many attempts.
Evan Hymes attempted to give it ago in warmups, changing from sleeve on the knee to being heavily taped up but did not crack the starting lineup for Siena. Rob Poole started in Hymes’ place, his fifth start for the Saints this season.
Without Hymes, Siena struggled in the first 28 seconds of the game. The Saints gave up a three pointer to Donovan Kates and then turned the ball over in the Manhattan fullcourt press, allowing a Emmy Andujar dunk in transition. Saints Head Coach Mitch Buonaguro called an immediate timeout.
Siena cut the Jaspers lead to one, at 29-28, with a Rob Poole two-pointer with 7:46 left, energizing the Saints crowd. Siena forced Manhattan into some stops but tempers flared at 6:51 when a technical was assessed to Siena Junior O.D. Anosike and and Manhattan Sophomore Togrim Sommerfeldt. Sommerfeldt shoved Anosike out of the paint after the whistle blew, the referees ran in to take control of the situation while Manhattan Head Coach Steve Masiello ran out to get his players out of jostling with the Saints. Anosike tied the game up at 29 with a free throw on the previous foul by Sommerfeldt prior to the technical call.
Then the two teams went back and forth on for the remaining minutes. Senior Brandon Walters grabbed a rebound off a Rob Poole miss to give the Saints 34-32 lead with 4:50 left. Fellow senior Owen Wignot made a mid-range jumper to give the Saints a 36-32 lead with 3:59 to go. Manhattan’s Roberto Colonette made a shot plus a free throw on a foul to give the Jaspers a 37-36 lead. Walters took a pass from Poole and scored a traditional three point play to give the Saints a 39-37 lead with 1:29 left. Colonette made two free throws on the other end to tie it with 1:16 left. Owen Wignot two point fade away jumper gave Saints 41-39 lead with 33 seconds left.
Rob Poole has 12 points to lead the Saints. The Saints are 7-1 when Poole scores double-digits in a game, their only loss was to Hofstra in the BracketBuster game. Beamon leads the Jaspers with 15 points, all on five made three pointers.
Siena has made 55% of their two pointers, going 11 for 20 from two point range and adding four three pointers. Siena is holding Manhattan to 23.5% from inside the arc, the Jaspers just making 4 of 17 from the inside – but their 8 three pointers on 14 shots have kept them in the game.