O.D. Anosike slams door on Marist to open MAAC Tournament, going for 24 points and 12 rebounds in Siena's 70-64 win over Red Foxes in play-in game. (Photo courtesy of 4 Guys In Blazers)
Siena head coach Mitch Buonaguro's opening statement:
"Going into this game, we knew it was going to be a tough game. I commend Chuck, (Martin, Marist's head coach) his team peaked at the end of the season, they won five out of seven."
Siena forward O.D. Anosike (24 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists) on his team's mindset:
"This is definitely the epitome of a team effort. I'm a senior and I don't want to go home. They (my teammates) understood that if we didn't play with a sense of urgency, we were going home. I'm real proud of these guys."
Siena guard Rob Poole (19 points, 5-of-7 three-pointers) on his approach tonight:
"I was just going to try to let the game come to me, and the game did come to me. I just kept shooting, and luckily, they went in."
Mitch Buonaguro on Rakeem Brookins, who played for the first time in nearly a month:
"We're a much better team with him. He should be commended for playing 20 minutes."
Buonaguro on tomorrow afternoon's quarterfinal matchup with Niagara:
"I think our guys are excited about playing them. They should have a lot of confidence tomorrow."
Anosike on the Niagara game:
"If we can defend them and make them use all 35 seconds on the shot clock, we'll have a pretty good chance of beating them tomorrow."
Marist head coach Chuck Martin's opening statement:
"I thought we settled for way too many threes...in the last two games, we only took 13 threes; tonight, we took 21. I was a little disappointed that we didn't drive the ball and try to attack these guys."
Marist center Adam Kemp (13 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks) on guarding O.D. Anosike:
"Coming into the game, I knew what it was going to be like. I've seen his moves, and he's just way too physical down there."
Marist forward Chavaughn Lewis (24 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) on the outcome:
"They played like they wanted it more than us. I expect us to be in the game, and I just wanted to win. I'm not satisfied with just being close."
Chuck Martin on his message to the team in the locker room:
"It's an emotional time, so there's not much to say at this moment. There's a lot going on in their mind, in my mind. If there's anything I can tell my guys, it's that you are who you are; and in critical moments, you reveal yourself. Hopefully this is a lesson for our guys to commit ourselves, because at the moment of truth, you are who you are."
Nuggets of Note:
- Siena's bench was the story in the first half, as Davis Martens exploded with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting, completely catching Marist off guard. On the contrary, Jay Bowie heated up in the second half, scoring 14 of his 16 points for the Red Foxes.
- O.D. Anosike and swingman Trenity Burdine came through for Siena when it mattered, combining to break a 64-all tie that was forged after Bowie hit a three-pointer from just off the top of the key with 1:43 remaining in regulation. Burdine gave the Saints the lead for good with a foul shot and a driving layup, while Anosike converted a free throw and an emphatic dunk in the final seconds that served as the icing on the cake.
- Rakeem Brookins returned to the Saints' rotation for the first time since February 10th, when Siena lost a 72-62 contest to Saint Peter's at the Yanitelli Center. The guard had been nursing a back injury in the four weeks since, and chipped in with four points and two rebounds in 20 minutes as head coach Mitch Buonaguro praised his effort.
- Tonight's game was the last in the career of Devin Price, who ends his Marist tenure as one of the Red Foxes' 28 1,000-point scorers. In 27 minutes tonight, the Los Angeles area product was held to just three points and as many assists on 1-of-5 shooting. Dorvell Carter and Jesse Martin, Marist's two other seniors, did not play.
- Finally, the Siena victory extended the Saints' record against Marist in MAAC Tournament play to 6-0 in what was the first matchup on this stage between the two teams since 2007, when Matt Brady guided the Red Foxes to a regular season MAAC championship behind conference Player of the Year Jared Jordan, who was later drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers with the 45th overall selection that summer. While Marist ends the year with a 10-21 record, Siena advances to the quarterfinals to meet Niagara, whom they are 4-2 against in MAAC Tournament action. The Purple Eagles swept both regular season meetings with the Saints, taking the most recent one on January 25th on their home court at the Times Union Center in Albany by the final of 78-69.