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Saints routed by Needham in 20th defeat

Friday, February 15, 2013
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— Siena’s dreadful season reached a milestone, of sorts, on Thursday night at the Webster Bank Arena.

Led by Derek Needham’s 31 points, Fairfield hammered the Saints, 74-52, to drop Siena to 4-11 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and 6-20 overall.

The Saints, who played without starting guard Rakeem Brookins, reached 20 losses for just the third time in program history, further casting doubt on Mitch Buonag­uro’s future as head coach.

Siena fired its coach after the previous two 20-loss seasons, Bob Beyer in 1997 and Rob Lanier in 2005.

With the loss, the Saints were officially relegated to a first-round game in the MAAC tournament, which will begin on March 8 for the men.

Brookins, who has a history of back problems, felt his back tighten up during shootaround and was held out of the game.

Needham single-handedly put a stranglehold on Siena, making eight of 11 three-pointers and falling one point shy of his career high.

He did much of the damage in the first half, making five of his first six threes to give the Stags a 22-10 lead, then making a jumper to give him 17 points in the first 12 minutes of the game for a 26-15 lead.

An 8-0 run that included three-pointers by Marcus Gilbert and Steve Johnston put the Stags (8-7, 16-11) ahead, 34-15, and only a little

8-2 run by the Saints got them within 36-23 by halftime.

Fairfield maintained a comfortable lead throughout the second half, as Needham, a 6-foot-3 guard from Chicago, hit three threes in the first 10 minutes.

Fairfield, the best defensive scoring team in the conference, bottled up Siena’s top two scorers, O.D. Anosike and Rob Poole.

Neither made a basket until less than five minutes were left in the game and both were 1-for-6 from the field.

Anosike finished with five points and six rebounds in 38 minutes, and Poole was scoreless until making a three with 3:54 left for his only points in 35 minutes.

Siena point guard Evan Hymes made all three of his three-point attempts, but was just 2-for-10 from inside the arc and led the team with 14 points.

Trenity Burdine scored 11 for the Saints, who play at home against Loyola on Saturday night.

Fairfield played without starting guard Desmond Wade, who was out for the second straight game with a knee injury.

Senior Colin Nickerson had a strong game in his place with 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

SIENA (52)

Anosike 1-6 3-4 5, Burdine 3-5 5-7 11, Silas 5-6 0-0 10, Hymes 5-13 1-2 14, Poole 1-6 0-0 3, Audu 1-4 0-0 2, Cruz 0-0 0-0 0, Hopper 1-1 0-0 2, Martens 1-3 1-2 3, Bisping 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 18-45 12-17 52.

FAIRFIELD (74)

Gilbert 1-4 2-2 5, Sidibe 3-6 2-2 8, Mikulic 1-6 0-0 3, Needham 11-17 1-1 31, Nickerson 5-10 0-1 10, Hyland 0-0 0-0 0, Barrow 2-5 0-0 4, Johnson 2-2 0-0 4, Johnston 1-2 0-0 3, Matthews 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 29-57 5-6 74.

Halftime: Fairfield 36, Siena 23. Three-point goals: Siena 4-7 (Hymes 3-3, Poole 1-3, Audu 0-1); Fairfield 11-25 (Needham 8-11, Johnston 1-2, Gilbert 1-4, Mikulic 1-6, Nickerson 0-2). Rebounds: Siena 27 (Anosike 6); Fairfield 33 (Nickerson 9). Assists: Siena 6 (Anosike, Hymes 3); Fairfield 17 (Nickerson 5). Total Fouls: Siena 12, Fairfield 13. A: 1,756.

 
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