Siena moved to an impressive 13-1 in conference play after they handled Loyola with relative ease last night, 73-60, in the Times Union Center in Albany, New York. The Saints’ frontcourt size proved to be too much as they were led by Alex Franklin and Ryan Rossiter, Siena’s starting power forward and starting center, as they each registered double-doubles. The Greyhounds (11-15, 6-8) have now dropped 3 straight, but with Iona’s loss at Manhattan, remain in a 6th place tie in the MAAC.
Trailing 35-28 at half, Loyola got hoops from Marquis Sullivan and Jamal Barney to cut Siena’s lead to just 3, but they would get no closer. Then the Saints ran off 17 of the game’s next 19 points jumping out to an 18 point lead and sealing the deal on their season sweep of the ‘Hounds.
This rivalry has produced some memorable games in recent years, especially when these two get together in upstate New York. Greg Manning, now in his first season on Coach Patsos’ bench as an assistant coach, was called on off of the Loyola bench to be a hero in last season’s regular season match up in Albany. His 3 as time expired sent the game to OT where the Greyhounds would pickup a tough road W. Then who can forget these two also hooking up in a memorable MAAC Semifinal in last year’s tournament where the Greyhounds blew a 17 point second half lead and let the game slip away in the last minute? That Saint team won that game and would go on to beat Rider for the MAAC Title and then upset Vanderbilt in the NCAA’s first round.
Four players in Coach Fran McCaffery are hold overs from that squad and are they come back as heavy favorites to make a return trip to the big dance. Kenny Hasbrouk, Edwin Ubiles, and Alex Franklin are all shoe-in first team All-MAAC picks and Ronald Moore is their team leader pass first point guard. Siena played until the final whistle blew in last night’s game as all five starters played over 30 minutes with Franklin, Rossiter, Ewbiles, and Moore on the floor for 35+. That tells me this team’s only weakness could be a lack of depth.
If Loyola wants to avoid the firt night of the MAAC Tournament where the 7 seed plays the 10 and the 8 plays the 9, it would behoove them to win their next two. They have home games against Iona and Canisius before ending the year with Rider at home and a return trip to Iona.