By Andrew Reilly
On Monday March 9th The Siena men’s basketball team made history by going to the NCAA March Madness tournament for a second straight year, beating the Niagara Purple Eagles with the score of 77-70. This is a first in school history.
Siena came into the tournament looking to defend their MAAC title as the favorite to win the tournament again this season, and they didn’t fail. All three games were played quite well by the Saints in front of a packed house at the Times Union Center.
Siena got off to a slow start in the beginning of the game as the score at the first time out was 15-5 in favor of the Purple Eagles. That soon changed with an 18-4 run giving the saints the lead. The rest of the half would go back in forth, with Niagara tying the game up at 33 at the buzzer to end the first half. At this point the game was up for grabs. It was going to come down to who simply wanted it more.
In the second half the game would continue to go back and forth until senior and MAAC tournament MVP Kenny Hasbrouck stepped in and scored 11 of the Saints 15 points, marking a 17-4 run giving Siena a 67-54 lead with just 4 minutes left to play. The game seemed to be over but Niagara led by Tyrone Lewis kept fighting to keep Niagara within reach, in the end however there just wasn’t enough time to finish a comeback.
Kenny Hasbrouck finished the game leading the team with 19 points. Hasbrouck had a remarkable game after questions of a sore calf he got in the win over Fair Field. Ryan Rossiter had a double-double, scoring 16 points and adding 14 rebounds. Alex Franklin also had 16 points, including a monster slam dunk that seemed to be the final blow to the Purple Eagles. Ronald Moore came close to a triple-double having 7 points, a career high 9 rebounds and 7 of Siena’s 19 assists. Edwin Ubiles also added 9 points to the Saints already balanced team. For the game Siena shot 45% while Niagara only shot 33%.
This is the 4th MAAC title by the Saints and the 21st straight home win dating back to last season for Siena. If the Saints keep up their dominate team balance of play, they surly can surprise a team in the big dance, and continue to open eyes.