Anosike’s home final a tough loss
ALBANY O.D. Anosike had the worst seat in the house.
Well, until it got worse.
Sidelined with leg cramps late in the game, Siena’s star senior left the bench and wasn’t even in the gym as Marist held on to beat the Saints, 76-74, before 6,561 at the Times Union Center on Friday night.
It spoiled the final home game for Anosike, one of the best players in program history and the only senior on the roster.
He teared up during a Senior Night pre-game ceremony, then wasn’t even around to watch the wild ending or talk about it with the media, having been sent to the trainer’s room for an IV to overcome dehydration.
Even when Anosike was in the game — he played 33 minutes — Marist center Adam Kemp had his way with Siena, finishing with 24 points on 10-for-14 from the field and 14 rebounds.
The Red Foxes made just enough free throws in the last 9.5 seconds to hang on, as Siena’s Rob Poole missed a halfcourt heave from the sideline as time expired.
“I was disappointed we couldn’t get a win for him; tough loss for O.D. and for us,” said sophomore Trenity Burdine, who led Siena (4-13 MAAC, 7-22 overall) with 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
“I feel pretty bad for him,” point guard Evan Hymes said. “He’s done so much for the team. He’s a strong dude; he’ll get over it and be ready to play for Sunday.”
“The most disappointing thing is we didn’t get a win for O.D., so he could go out on a high,” head coach Mitch Buonaguro said. “But he can hold his head high. He’s had a great career.”
Anosike scored 17 points and had nine rebounds, taking sole possession of second on Siena’s all-time career rebounding list with his first board of the night.
He finished a three-point play to tie it at 68-68 with 3:18 left, but hobbled off after making the free throw to get iced just above the left knee.
Devin Price, who made four of six three-pointers and scored 18 points for Marist (5-12, 9-20), hit two free throws for a 74-71 lead with 20.7 seconds left.
Anosike had come back in with 54.7 seconds left, but he sat down at the end of the bench for more ice as Price made the free throws, and was sent to the trainer’s room before the end of the game.
Hymes missed a 28-footer, leading to Chavaughn Lewis getting a chance at the free-throw line for the Red Foxes with 9.5 left. He made the first and missed the second for a 75-71 lead.
“We ran a set play for Rob Poole, they kind of bottled him up and he threw it to Evan,” Buonaguro said. “It wasn’t a great shot, but from where we were, I think it was OK.”
Poole nailed a three with 2.9 seconds left to cut it to 75-74, then Manny Thomas made the first of two free throws for Marist, and Poole’s desperation shot didn’t miss by much but failed to catch the rim as the game ended.
“It was a hell of a game, our best offensive game of the year,” Buonaguro said. “It’s just a shame we lost. Marist is really improved, and I knew it would be this kind of game and come down to the last couple of plays.”
Anosike had good numbers in the game, but not quite as good as he did when Siena beat Marist earlier in the season.
He had 20 points and 21 rebounds in a 79-75 Siena win in January.
“We learned from the first game, when he was phenomenal,” Marist head coach Chuck Martin said. “We watched the film and decided to double really hard. We doubled right away, and then O.D. started picking us apart, they kept screening the weak side and made a few threes. My assistants said, ‘Hey, let’s double him on the bounce, give him a different look.’ So we made an adjustment.”
“We’ve had real good battles in the past,” Kemp said. “Any time you play against a player like that, I look forward to it just from the competition aspect. Especially after what he did to us the first time. I wanted to prove to myself, more than anything else, that I could come out here and have a better performance.”
“O.D.’s disappointed, but he gave his all tonight,” Buonaguro said. “He played really hard, and they were really playing him physical. Kemp gave us problems. He’s tough. He’s bigger than our guys, and he was getting matched up with Trenity a lot in the zone.”
It’s likely that Siena and Marist will see each other again in the first round of the MAAC tournament next weekend.
Poole finished with 14 points, and Davis Martens added 13 points and seven rebounds for Siena.
Bowie 3-9 3-4 10, Lewis 8-15 1-2 17, Kemp 10-14 4-8 24, Morton 1-5 0-0 2, Curry 1-2 0-0 2, Price 5-8 4-4 18, Thomas 0-0 1-2 1, Prinsloo 1-1 0-0 2, Lawrence 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-54 13-20 76.
Anosike 7-13 2-2 16, Burdine 6-8 4-4 17, Silas 4-6 1-2 9, Leppanen 0-0 0-0 0, Poole 5-11 2-2 14, Audu 1-2 0-0 2, Hymes 1-6 0-0 3, Martens 4-12 5-6 13. Totals 28-58 14-16 74.
Halftime: Siena 36, Marist 35. Three-point goals: Marist 5-13 (Price 4-6, Bowie 1-3, Curry 0-1, Lewis 0-1, Morton 0-2); Siena 4-14 (Poole 2-5, Burdine 1-2, Hymes 1-6, Audu 0-1). Fouled out: Silas. Rebounds: Marist 30 (Kemp 14); Siena 30 (Anosike 9). Assists: Marist 19 (Morton 7); Siena 17 (Hymes 6). Total fouls: Marist 15; Siena 15. A: 6,561.