Saints’ Anosike has spotlight to himself tonight
It will be a short procession to center court for Senior Night tonight.
It’ll be a distinguished one, though.
Forward O.D. Anosike is the only member of the senior class for the Siena Saints, and his accomplishments at Siena just about stand alone as he gets ready to take the Times Union floor for the final time of his career, against Marist at 7 p.m.
Last year, he became the first Siena player to lead the nation in rebounding, and he is second in career double-doubles and tied for second for most rebounds in school history.
“I don’t really know if I’ll be emotional,” said Anosike, who will have several family members in the arena. “It’s something I’m looking forward to, and at the same time, it’s going to be bittersweet. I’m looking forward to just getting out there and playing on the Times Union floor one last time.”
At 1,037 career rebounds, the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Anosike is tied with Lee Matthews on Siena’s all-time list, behind Ryan Rossiter (1,151).
Anosike is one of six active Division I players with 1,000 career points and rebounds.
He had a monster game against Marist in a 79-75 win in Poughkeepsie on Jan. 27, with 20 points and 21 rebounds. It was also the only game this season in which Siena has had more assists than turnovers.
“He’s relentless,” head coach Mitch Buongauro said. “He goes after balls. He doesn’t stand, he’s very active, he’s athletic. When the ball goes up, he has a nose for where it’s going to be. He’s not a guy who stands in one spot, he goes and gets them. That’s the mark of a really good rebounder.”
Anosike could use a little more help from his outside shooters.
He faces constant double-teams, but Siena has been inconsistent from three-point range.
“He’s handled it well,” Buonaguro said. “The problem has been that some nights, we haven’t made shots. He gets frustrated because he wants to do more, but he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, which is kicking the ball out. But he’s been very positive with the guys. I actually see a difference now where he’s getting doubled, and we’re better against it.”
In particular, Rob Poole is still feeling the effects of the flu that knocked him out of four games.
Poole said he still hasn’t regained all of the weight he lost during that stretch, and doesn’t expect to until after the season, when he can get back in the weight room. He had his weight at 192 to begin the season, but is at 183 now.
Poole was 2-for-14 against Radford in Siena’s overtime win on Sunday, but the two makes were huge, coming as they did during a 10-2 run in the final 57.8 seconds of regulation to send it into overtime.
“I’m getting pounded,” Poole said after the game. “They’re getting real physical with me, and that’s a great scout by them. Losing that 12 pounds was tough, and now teams are getting into me and putting a shoulder on me. I just have to get tougher and get open and make the shot. When I’m open, I’ve got to make them because I don’t think I’m going to get that many open shots.”
Siena is 4-12 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and 7-21 overall.
With two MAAC games left, the Saints have no shot at gaining a No. 7 seed, but can clinch an 8 or 9 with a win over Marist (4-12, 8-20).
A distinct point of emphasis in practice this week has been stopping sophomore Chavaughn Lewis, the Red Foxes’ leading scorer.
In Siena’s victory in January, Lewis scored 23 points and didn’t have a good shooting game from the field, at 6-for-18, but he was able to get to the free throw line and make 10 of 12.
The Saints also have to pay attention to Adam Kemp inside.
He’s made 53.8 percent of his shots this season.
The Saints wrap up the regular season at Iona at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Siena will be fortunate to get Rakeem Brookins (back injury) back in time for the MAAC tournament, and freshman forward Brett Bisping (skin infection) is doubtful to play.
Point guard Evan Hymes will be back in the lineup after missing his first game of the season with an ankle injury, but Buonaguro wasn’t sure whether he would start or if he would go with Chris Leppanen again.
Leppanen, a Christian Brothers Acad-emy graduate from Troy, had a solid game against Radford, after playing just 52 minutes in the previous 27 games.
Since Jan. 17, Siena forward Imoh Silas is leading the nation in field goal percentage (80 percent) on 24-for-30 shooting, based on players with at least two makes a game.