Created: 02/10/2014 11:31 PM WNYT.com
By: Siena Athletics & WNYT Sports
Siena led for just 31 seconds all night, but it was the right 31 seconds. Brett Bisping collected a feed from Evan Hymes and finished a tough runner off glass with eight seconds left to lift the Saints past Fairfield 77-75 Monday night in Albany.
“I like coaching this team,” Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos said. “It’s a fun team to coach and I’m proud of them.”
Siena (11-14, 7-7) trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half, but used an 11-0 run to cut the lead to five and trailed just 37-36 at the break. Fairfield (5-20, 2-12) dug in and didn’t relinquish the lead until Rob Poole’s three-pointer bounced three times on the rim before falling to put the Saints up 67-66 with 5:19 to play.
Maurice Barrow had two of his game-high 18 points 23 seconds later and Fairfield didn’t give up the lead again until Bisping’s game-winner.
Siena got even after a brilliant defensive play by Hymes. He swiped the ball from KJ Rose, igniting a Lavon Long-led fast break that Rob Poole finished with 1:12 left. Poole drew contact and completed a three-point play that tied the game at 75-75. Barrow missed a corner three-pointer on Fairfield’s next possession and the rebound went out-of-bounds to Siena.
Siena ran the winning play without a timeout, a set Patsos identified as “Orlando” that he called to Wright in front of the Saints’ bench. Wright drove hard right and dished to Hymes who alertly found a cutting Bisping.
The Stags called timeout with five second left, but Bisping drew a charge on Rose to seal the outcome.
Bisping led four Saints in double figures with 18 points. Poole had 12 of his 14 in the second half, shaking off a scoreless performance at Saint Peter’s Friday night and a tough first half. Hymes chipped in 13 points, four assists and no turnovers and Long added 10 points.
Fairfield had five players in double figures and scored its most points in 17 games. The Stags went 7-15 from distance and answered nearly every challenge Siena made until the final one.
The Saints took advantage of 28 Fairfield fouls to out-score the Stags 22-12 at the free throw line.
Siena is now alone in sixth place in the MAAC, a game up on Marist and a game behind Rider. The Saints travel to Poughkeepsie to play the Red Foxes Friday night at 8:30 on ESPN3.