CARS HOMES JOBS

Silas comes to Siena's rescue

Monday, March 3, 2014
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Siena's Imoh Silas (34) handles the ball against Monmouth's Zac Tillman (33) during Sunday's game at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
Siena's Imoh Silas (34) handles the ball against Monmouth's Zac Tillman (33) during Sunday's game at the Times Union Center in Albany.

— After playing in six consecutive nail-biters and eight out of nine decided in the final minute, Siena stepped out of character Sunday with a rare blowout victory.

But junior center Imoh Silas did a different kind of stepping in front of a Senior Day crowd of 8,148 at the Times Union Center.

Silas rejected six shots, including several of the highlight-film variety, and he added 11 rebounds to help the hard-charging Saints rip Monmouth, 70-54, and avenge an earlier loss to the Hawks. The Saints end the regular season with an 11-9 record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, a four-game winning streak and a 15-16 overall mark heading into this week’s MAAC tournament in Springfield, Mass.

“Imoh Silas really saved us,” said Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos. “For Imoh to get 11 rebounds and six blocks was really something. Our inside players matched their inside players.”

“I was just trying to help my teammates,” said Silas, who also scored seven points and hit an uncharacteristic turnaround jumper from the baseline that beat the buzzer and stretched Siena’s advantage to 48-29 with 14:10 left.

“Several times, they set me up for the block, after I came over to help them from off the ball. It feels good when I can help my team out. As far as that shot is concerned, coach kept telling me to shoot it, so I shot it. I don’t usually try that kind of shot.”

Silas said the Saints are playing with confidence.

“I won’t guarantee how many wins we get in the tournament, but I will guarantee that we will compete in every game.”

“Imoh always plays like that. He’s a fantastic shot-blocker, and he really bailed us out,” said sophomore forward Brett Bisping who poured in 17 points, including 11-for-12 shooting from the line.

Hymes registered 15 points, freshman forward Lavon Long produced 10 points and junior Rob Poole reached the 1,000-point mark.

Siena blocked 11 shots as a team, and Steven Cruz, who earned a start as the only graduating senior, scored a point, grabbed two rebounds and registered an assist in six minutes.

All in all, it was another strong win for a young team that appears to be on a mission.

“It was a great team effort,” said Patsos. “We had 8,100 people here. We have great fans, and they showed up like this in a relatively meaningless game that didn’t change the standings.”

Patsos was obviously pleased with the Saints’ all-around effort.

“This team has been learning all year,” he said. “It’s a fun team to be around. They care for each other. I thought we responded well today. Evan [Hymes] was fantastic. He always seems to play well at home. All year long, it’s been different guys. I’m very glad that both Evan and Rob Poole got their 1,000th points this season, but I know that getting 15 wins and getting the fifth seed for the tournament means a lot more to them.”

Monmouth (5-15, 11-10) was paced by Andrew Nicholas with 18 points and Deon Jones with 14.

MONMOUTH (54)

Tillman 2-5 1-2 5, Brady 1-3 1-2 3, James 2-7 2-6 6, Jones 3-11 8-9 14, Nicholas 7-15 1-2 18, Palm 0-0 0-0 0, DiLeo 0-2 0-0 0, Noack 4-4 0-1 8, White 0-1 0-0 0, O’Garro 0-5 0-0 0, Stewart 0-3 0-0 0, Baletic 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 19-58 13-22 54.

SIENA (70)

Long 5-13 0-0 10, Bisping 3-11 11-12 17, Silas 3-4 1-1 7, Cruz 0-1 1-2 1, Poole 2-7 0-0 4, Wright 2-3 2-2 6, Ogunyemi 0-1 0-0 0, Oliver 1-3 2-2 5, Hymes 5-7 4-4 15, Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, White 2-3 0-0 4, Wolfe 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 23-54 22-25 70.

Halftime: Siena, 35-23. Three-point goals: Monmouth 3-10 (Jones 0-1, Nicholas 3-5, DiLeo 0-2, Stewart 0-2); Siena 2-11 (Bisping 0-3, Poole 0-3, Oliver 1-3, Hymes 1-1). Rebounds: Monmouth 35 (Jones 7), Siena 39 (Silas 11). Assists: Monmouth 9 (O’Garro 4), Siena 14 (Wright 5). Total fouls: Monmouth 17, Siena 21. Attendance: 8,148.

 
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