Saints’ skid hits nine games
ALBANY Reminiscent of his freshman year, senior forward O.D. Anosike’s sweat-soaked shirt was flopped over his waistband with six minutes left.
That used to draw a quick and friendly scolding from the officials, but they let it slide this time, perhaps because the game had come untucked well before that.
Ramon Galloway torched Siena’s zone for 22 points, and La Salle smothered the Saints on the perimeter for an 80-52 victory at the Times Union Center on Saturday night as Siena’s season continued to unravel.
“It’s a bad game; we’re not going to sit here and make excuses,” said Anosike, who finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds, but was quiet in the first half, when the Explorers took a 39-24 lead.
“We didn’t play well. It happens. You can’t get down on one loss. MAAC play starts next week, and we’ve got to clean it up.”
It was one loss, but it was also the ninth straight for the 2-11 Saints, a longer streak of futility than any stretch during their 6-24 season in 2004-05.
Siena lost 10 straight in 2003-04.
Siena head coach Mitch Buonaguro said La Salle was the best team Siena had faced this year, and La Salle head coach John Giannini said it was the best game his team had played this year.
That added up to not much of a game at all.
Galloway, a 6-foot-3 guard from Philadelphia who transferred from South Carolina, made five of nine three-pointers for 15 points in the first half, then picked up where he left off in the second half, making a jumper and another three in the first two and a half minutes for a 48-27 lead.
The game seemed to be all but decided at that point, but Galloway punctuated his performance with an alley-oop slam off a two-on-one with Tyrone Garland to make it 68-34 midway through the second half.
“It was in the flow of the game, and my teammates found me at the right time,” Galloway said. “Coach told me to be ready to shoot, they’re in a zone, keep being aggressive.
“When you get shots falling, you get teammates looking for you and everyone is hitting shots, the game kind of smoothens out.”
“It’s a game that got away from us,” Buonaguro said. “I thought we were playing pretty well for the first 12 minutes. Then Galloway, we lost him a couple times in the zone.”
At 9-2, the Explorers are off to their best start since the 1989-90 team was 9-1 with National Player of the Year Lionel Simmons.
La Salle had 21 assists against 11 turnovers, compared to six assists and 17 turnovers for Siena, and the Saints’ starting backcourt of Rakeem Brookins and Evan Hymes were responsible for six of those turnovers.
They also combined to shoot 7-for-26 from the field, including 1-for-9 from three-point range.
Brookins, also a Philadelphia native, had been looking forward to playing against his friends, Garland and Tyreek Duren.
“I wouldn’t say this one hurts more. All the losses hurt,” he said. “But seeing as we’re from the same city, it is a little tough on me.
“They had tremendous pressure on the ball, trying to get me and Ev out of our game. The coaches preached about it all week, and that’s exactly what they did. Actions always speak louder than words. From what he was telling us, we didn’t expect it to be that good, but we should’ve been prepared for that.”
With 10 points, Brookins was the only other Saint in double figures.
Siena came into the game with the best three-point field goal defense in the MAAC, at 28.5 percent, but La Salle made 13 of 28.
Galloway was 6-for-10, and four other Explorers made at least one, including a 3-for-3 night from D.J. Peterson.
“It was just one of those nights where we started making threes, and our effort was at a high level,” Giannini said.
“Their offense was just really hot from the jump,” Anosike said. “Galloway was hitting threes. We could tell they had a lot of confidence. In the second half, it continued, and we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Siena, meanwhile, was 3-for-17 (17.6 percent) from three-point range and 19-for-57 from the field.
"They really took us out of our offense.," Buonaguro said. "They have tremendous defenders on the perimeter, and they took us out of our stuff. We had trouble running our offense.That defense was very suffocating. We have not seen defense like that all year."
"That's our focus every game, to go in and be pit bulls," Galloway said. "We've got to be vicious on defense, attack their guards and take them out of their rhythm."
The game was close in the first eight minutes, as Siena's Davis Martens hit a running hook to cut it to 18-15.
La Salle went on an 18-5 run that included three three-pointers by Galloway, two from the left corner and one from the left diagonal, for a 36-20 lead with 1:24 left in the first half.
"It's definitely frustrating," Brookins said. "Some of the games are closer than others, and others, we can't get it together."
"La Salle's a great team, but we didn't play too well," Anosike said. "We didn't bring it tonight, especially defensively."
LA SALLE (80)
Wright 3-7 1-2 7, Zack 3-5 0-0 6, Duren 5-11 2-4 13, Mills 3-9 0-0 8, Galloway 8-15 0-0 22, Peterson 4-4 0-0 11, Dunn 1-4 0-0 3, Lewis 1-1 0-0 2, Hunt 0-0 0-0 0, Garland 2-6 2-3 6, Brown 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 31-63 5-9 80.
Anosike 4-9 6-8 14, Silas 0-2 0-0 0, Hymes 3-9 0-0 6, Brookins 4-17 1-2 10, Poole 2-4 1-1 5, Audu 0-4 2-2 2, Burdine 0-1 1-2 1, Oliver 3-6 0-0 7, Martens 1-2 0-0 2, Bisping 2-3 0-0 5. Totals: 19-57 11-15 52.
Halftime: La Salle 39, Siena 24. Three-point goals: La Salle 13-28 (Duren 1-5, Mills 2-6, Galloway 6-10, Peterson 3-3, Dunn 1-3, Garland 0-1); Siena 3-17 (Hymes 0-2, Brookins 1-7, Poole 0-1, Audu 0-1, Oliver 1-4, Bisping 1-2). Rebounds: La Salle 35 (Garland 7); Siena 36 (Anosike 16). Assists: La Salle 21 (Zack, Mills, Galloway, Garland 4); Siena 6 (Hymes 3). Total fouls: La Salle 15; Siena 11. Attendance: 5,907.