Siena Reclaims Albany Cup With Thrilling Victory Over UAlbany
Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro finally let his emotions get the best of him, as time elapsed in Monday evening's game.
The Saints had lost five games in a row, while playing shorthanded and yet had hung tough in all but one game this season.
Siena got down (big) again on this night, but the Saints showed their resolve and came away with a 64-60 victory over their rivals from the University at Albany.
"Our guys have been through a lot of adversity," said Buonaguro, who called the win the best of his 1+ season as head coach.
The Saints have now won nine of the 11 meetings at the Division I level, including six of the last seven.
Even with a lack of depth, Siena got the game played at their pace. The Saints have statistically one of the top defenses around because they slow the pace down.
UAlbany was playing fast and looking good in the first half, leading by as many as 19, 31-12, but they got away from their gameplan and it cost them.
Siena rode freshman Evan Hymes in the first half and junior O.D. Anosike in the second half. Both players finished with 21 points and the Saints earned back the bragging rights for the next year.
The crowd was the smallest since the rivalry was renewed in 2001, at only 8,252 people, which could have had something to do with the weekday game, rather than the usual Saturday evening.
This game was big for Siena, but I still think that UAlbany has the better chance of making a deep run towards the postseason.
The Great Danes have a lot of nice pieces, including leading scorer Gerardo Suero, who coudn't ever really get going on this night. I think this may have been more of a case of the UAlbany players being the "favorite" and hearing from everyone that they should win. Rather than go put the game away when they were up big, they allowed Siena to hang around and that's what killed them in the end.
For the Saints, this win was crucial, as they ended a long losing steak and for the time being at least, held on to their status as the King of the Capital District courts.