MAAC Tournament: Niagara vs. Siena - LIVE BLOG
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • March 09, 2013 @ 3:01pm
Final—Niagara wins 74-63.
:13—It’s over! Niagara advances.
:42—Hymes misses the second shot intentionally but is whistled for a lane violation. Mason is fouled, and he’ll try two from the stripe. Mason’s first falls, and he has a game-high 20 points now. Second is good too.
:49—Green nails both free throws in an important situation. Inexplicably, Green fouls Evan Hymes on his foray to the rim—that’s the last thing NU needs—allowing Siena to score points with the clock stopped. 72-63 Niagara with 46.4 seconds remaining.
1:01—Brookins’ line-drive three from the left corner is no good, but Burdine nabs the board and is fouled by Green. Burdine will shoot two—first swishes through. Martens replaces Anosike in the lineup, and O.D. is wiping his eye. Not sure if he’s sad or he got poked. Second is no good, and Tanksley snares the board. Poole fouls Green in the backcourt, and Juan’ya goes to the line for a one-and-one. 70-62 Niagara. Anosike checks in for Martens—it’s an offense-defense substitution, it appears.
2:28—Nice extra pass on the perimeter by Tanksley frees up Green for an uncovered three—he swishes it, and that might by the dagger. Anosike misses two tips, and it’s Niagara ball again. 70-61 with 1:33 left—Niagara is in the driver’s seat, finally.
3:38—Nice rendition of Credence Clearwater Revival by the Siena pep band. Digging down deep into their musical arsenal! Niagara ball out of the media timeout. Squaring up in an iso situation against Rob Poole, Mason lulls the 6’5 wing to sleep with his dribble and drains a pull-up. Simple as that. 67-58 NU. Hymes rains in a contested three over Mason, and that swishes through as a pretty response. 67-61 Niagara, and there’s another timeout on the floor.
3:53—Under four timeout, 65-58 Niagara. Brookins’ trey and Anosike’s strong hoop brought Siena back within five, but an unselfish play by Mason has the Purps back up seven. Trenity Burdine is called for a travel—he literally caught the ball and took three steps without ever putting the ball on the floor. Not quite sure why he’s complaining to the official.
5:00—Brookins swishes a three from the right corner, and Cline misses a gimme floater from five feet, yelling at himself after the miss. Niagara pressures hard in the backcourt and nearly forces a turnover—Anosike backs down Cline and uses brute strength to score off the glass. Anosike’s indomitable will is keeping Siena afloat. Pretty drive-and-dish from Mason to Cline—the Siena help defender committed to Mason, and Cline was left alone under the hoop again.
5:23—Great vision by Green to find Cline underneath—Siena doubled the ball-handler on a ball-screen, and Green wisely whipped a pass to the wide-open big man slipping to the hoop. 63-53 Niagara, and Buonaguro signals for a 30-second timeout.
7:20—First shot drops through. Second is good too. Nice bounce pass under the Siena hoop by Anosike to Poole, who scores from the weakside. Mason hangs in mid-air and his smacked by Hymes—Antoine will shoot a pair. Mason hits both free throws, but Burdine scores inside. Green responds with a clever reverse layup that pinned the Siena defenders on the wrong side of the rim. Brookins’ three is short, and Jordan corrals the board. 61-53 NU.
7:26—Under eight timeout, 55-49 Niagara. Moving into crunch-time now here at the MassMutual Center—both the referees and poor shooting are preventing Niagara from advancing its lead beyond reach, and plucky Siena has ridden Anosike’s senior leadership this far. If O.D. picks up his fifth and disqualifying foul shortly, the game may finally swing in Niagara’s favor for good. Ill-advised pass to the backcourt by Siena, and Poole’s called for a desperation foul. Jordan will shoot one and one from the line—that’s seven team fouls on Siena.
8:38—Cline is just awarded a personal, and Green saves the ball defensively but lobs it right to Anosike, who just has to turn and finish at the rim. Terrible decision by the usually wise Juan’ya. Strange hand-check foul called on Anosike—his fourth. Green swoops to the right side of the tin and banks a shot off the glass and in. 55-49 NU. Blocking foul on Green, however, and we’ve reached the penultimate media timeout.
9:09—Green has his pocket picked by Brookins, who sails in for a lay-up. Jordan rims out on a three, and Joe Mihalich is still giving the official grief after not calling a foul when Green was stymied from behind. Mihalich is far outside the coach’s box right now seeking an explanation. Marvin Jordan and Antoine Mason each have three fouls right now, and the referees are at the monitor seeing how severe Cline’s foul on Anosike was—the Siena senior fell hard to the floor. 53-47 Purple Eagles.
10:41—Juan’ya misses the first free throw, but he swishes the second. 50-45 NU. Missed jumper by Green, then terrific anticipation at the other end to sniff out Poole’s dish on the two-on-one. Smooth crossover by Marvin Jordan on the left baseline before he kicks out to Tanksley on the left side of the arc. Ameen has all day to release his three, which swishes through. 53-45 NU—a little more breathing room now.
10:41—Under 12 timeout, 49-45 Niagara. Canisius’s men’s team is seated in the back left corner of the arena watching rival Niagara try to scrape out a close conference tournament game. You have to wonder who they’re rooting for—presumably Siena because Niagara and CC would play each other if both were victorious today.
11:30—Brookins rains in a three over Green’s block attempt, a clutch shot for the usually reluctant Brookins. Clean drive and finish down the right baseline by Lemmons to bring NU’s lead back to four. Poole’s floater goes in and out, and Juan’ya Green sprints down the floor, misses initially on a floater then grabs his own rebound and is fouled by Burdine—his fourth foul.
11:54—Pick-and-pop by T.J. Cline, who finally drains a three-ball. Good dish by Tanksley, and a slow reaction by Anosike not to challenge Niagara’s freshman at the arc. 47-42 Purple Eagles.
12:19—Hymes drills both. Two-point game. Jordan replaces Mason for NU.
12:55—Tanksley airballs a three—he really should look into not shooting from outside anymore. Cline checks in for Joe Thomas—Mason reads the inbounds pass well and draws a foul on Burdine, his third. Great anticipation by Mason, who won’t let his team concede this lead. Siena still in man—Tanksley has the ball poked away by Anosike, but the ball stays with Niagara. Cline bricks a jumper—and then Hymes explodes down the floor on the break and draws Mason’s third personal, and he nearly finished at the hoop. Hymes will now shoot two—still 44-40 NU.
15:23—Siena extends its zone a bit—missed runner by Green is boarded by Tanksley, and Joe Mihalich shrieks at the official after there’s no call on Green’s drive. Anosike uses his strength to push Thomas toward the hoop, and he finishes at the rim. Tanksley’s wide open jumper from the right elbow doesn’t drop—nice entry from Poole to Anosike, who bulls into Tanksley—no charge awarded—and scores softly one-handed. 44-38 NU, 6-0 run for Siena is pushed to eight on a fast-break layup by Burdine after a nice defensive tap rebound by Anosike to ignite Brookins’ fast-break.
15:38—Under 16 timeout, 44-34 Purple Eagles. 15 points for Mason at the first media break of the second half—he’s so powerful when attacking the rim, and he has enough touch and body control to finish. He’s truly a special athlete—his bloodlines don’t hurt, either, but he’s a much different style player than his father.
16:45—Poole swishes a three over the reach of Mason, a big shot to bring Siena back within eight. Niagara can’t afford to let Poole heat up from outside. Siena showing man-to-man for one of the few times today, and Mason draws Anosike’s third personal. Another big moment. Behind-the-back pass by Tanksley to a trailing Joe Thomas for a jam—I have no idea how Tanksley found him. 44-34, and that’s an offensive foul on Rakeem Brookins. Siena is falling apart.
17:19—Big moment for Niagara! Juan’ya Green intercepts a pass in transition, storms down the middle of the floor, drops a no-look pass to the left block to Mason, who scores the layup and draws a foul. Free-throw is good, and it’s 42-31, NU’s biggest lead. Poole misses a three, but Mihalich scolds Jordan on the offensive end for committing a turnover. Siena inbounds.
18:36—Joe Thomas re-enters for Niagara, replacing White. Brookins holds the ball in the backcourt for Siena, and NU’s in man-to-man. Marvin Jordan looks at the official in disbelief, and Joe Mihalich and his assistants jump to their feet angrily. There’s no way that was a reach. Third on Jordan, and he’ll remain in the game. Turnover by Brookins, and a sweet finger-roll by Mason over Silas is a big bucket. 39-31 Niagara.
18:36—Devon White is absolutely fuming after picking up his third foul. He mustered only three minutes in the first half, and he’s out after one in the second. Fortunately, he avoided a technical because he complained to his head coach rather than the official—well done by White to keep his temper. It’s been a very tightly called game so far by the officiating trio.
18:53—Poor communication on a switch for Niagara defensively, allowing Burdine to hoist a wide open three from almost dead on. Fortunately for NU, it’s long. Green misses a step-back jumper, and Devon White picks up his third foul for battling with Anosike in the post. Timeout on the floor, 37-31 Niagara.
20:00—Jordan, Tanksley, White, Mason and Green start for Niagara. Great kickout from Green to Jordan in the corner, and he swishes an open three to begin the half. Steal by Antoine Mason, and he’s grabbed on the fast-break by Evan Hymes. The Siena point guard comes up grimacing—he may have been poked in the eye while hammering Mason. Mason cans the first and the second. 37-31 Niagara. The Purple Eagle mascot is finally on his feet—he’s been awfully lazy in the early-going.
Halftime—Hymes and Poole each have nine points for Siena, while Mason’s eight leads Niagara. Second half starts in two minutes!
Halftime—Foul trouble watch: For Siena, SIlas has three personals, while Anosike, Burdine and Brookins were all awarded two. Niagara has five players with two fouls: White, Tanksley, Jordan, Thomas and Mason. Yikes.
Halftime—Plenty of noteworthy stats from the first half—Niagara leads in points off turnovers 16-to-5, while Siena trumped the Purple Eagles in second-chance points 11-4. Niagara’s 33% shooting in the first half is ugly and probably will improve to the mean unless it’s simply not Niagara’s afternoon. The 2-for-13 effort from downtown must have Mihalich troubled, as Siena is a sturdy 5-for-8 from long-distance.
:11—NU in man to man for the final trip, and Evan Hymes sinks a contested three over Green’s outstretched arm. Big bucket for Siena to close the half has the Saints sprinting to the locker room with the momentum.
:27—Timeout on the floor, Niagara leads 32-28 after Green’s bucket. Only five points for Niagara’s floor general—Siena’s Poole now leads all scorers with nine.
1:36—The referees opt not to check the monitor to see how malicious Anosike’s elbow was. Anosike heads to the bench, where he’ll, in all probability, spend the final 96 seconds of the half. Cline is short on the front end, and a cluster on top of a loose ball leads to Imoh Silas’ third foul, a big turn of events. With Anosike’s two personals and Silas’ three, Siena’s frontcourt is getting quite thin.
Lemmons misses both from the line. Nice block by Lemmons, but he turns the ball over before Green wins it right back. Hustle from Trenity Burdine earns a high-five from coach Mitch Buonaguro, who’s clearly fired up by the sophomore’s effort. Siena misses both from the line, and Green scores on a second-chance at the opposite end.
2:48—Green’s trey is off right, but Burdine misses a three from the right wing for Siena. Green loses the ball on the drive—good pursuit by Hymes—and Anosike grabs the loose ball. Good defense by Cline, who stops Hymes’ penetration and forces a turnover—Lemmons coasts down at the opposite end for an uncontested lay-up. 30-26 NU. Good work by Burdine to follow his own miss and score, but there’s a foul on O.D. Anosike after the basket for elbowing Cline. Anosike’s second foul—a very dumb one.
3:55 —Tanksley, Cline, Jordan, Green and Lemmons on the floor for Niagara, while Poole, Hymes, Silas, Burdine and Anosike are on the floor for Siena. Poole drills both free throws, cutting the Niagara lead to five. Niagara easily beats some half-court pressure, but Marvin Jordan throws an errant perimeter pass to Green, who shakes his head in frustration. Nice recovery defensively by Tanksley to strip Anosike in the block. Hymes rises for a three over Jordan, and that bangs in. 28-26 Niagara, and this spurt by the Saints has Mihalich unnerved.
3:55—Under four timeout, 28-21 Niagara. For what it’s worth, a Niagara fan just beat a Saints fan in a media timeout shooting contest. Perhaps that’s a momentum swing? Dubious.
4:24—28-21 NU. Lemmons drops a skip pass from Green, and he turns it over. Tough shot in traffic by Poole, who shows some unexpected strength in battling for the board. Foul on Tanksley—his first—and we’ve reached the final media break of the first half.
6:05—Outstanding extra pass by Anosike against help defense, but Silas loses focus and drops the ball, picks it up, then travels. Cline converts in the paint at the other end, and Niagara has opened up a nine-point lead. Acrobatic drive by the diminutive Brookins, whose lay-up doesn’t drop but leads to a tip in by Anosike. Lemmons is short on the three from the left wing, and Anosike collects. Nice help defense by Green to force a turnover on Anosike, and Tanksley continues to battle in the paint—it’s an offensive foul on Niagara. Anosike shoots one and one, and he misses the front end. Rebound, Cline.
6:25—First toss is good for Ameen. Second swishes through as well.
6:36 —Hymes checks in for Burdine, who now has two fouls. Mason running the point now, and he dumps down to Tanksley in the middle of the zone, who’s fouled by Silas. After dissent from Rakeem Brookins, the Siena guard is called for a technical. No discipline for the Saints after Tanksley was hacked. Juan’ya Green bricks the first technical foul shot, but he sinks the second. Now Tanksley will try two more from the stripe due to the original foul on Silas. 24-19 NU.
7:57—Anosike leaves his first free-throw short. TJ Cline back in the game Niagara. Second hits the front rim and drops in for O.D. Siena still in zone—Lemmons’ three is off the back rim, and Siena holds NU to one possession. Green can’t follow Rob Poole around a nice rub screen down low, and Poole has all day to launch—and drain—a three. Tanksley tries to respond, but he’s stuffed by Silas. Crowd chants airball, but it was blocked by the lengthy sophomore. Great charge taken by Tanksley, however, as Burdine barreled into the Niagara sophomore.
7:57—Under eight timeout, 23-15 Niagara. Good stretch for Niagara, even this game is far from pretty. Mason’s aggressiveness and Thomas’ diligence on the boards have buoyed the Purple Eagles to an eight-point lead. Mason paces all scorers with eight.
8:55—Hymes hits the first, but Martens is whistled for a lane violation on the second. Missed jumper by NU—Anosike engulfs the rebound again. Martens’ pull-up is no good, and Juan’ya Green dumps a nifty short pass in traffic to a wide-open Joe Thomas for a lay-in. Thomas has been exceptional off the pine—unexpected duty for the reserve big man.
9:55 —Second is no good, though, and Niagara comes away with it. Nice kickout to Marvin Jordan leaves him open for a triple, and that’s good for “Marvin the Microwave.” Hymes dribbles into the trees and can’t finish his lay-up, but Anosike—one of the nation’s best rebounders—can’t be beaten to the glass, and he scores ferociously. Missed pull-up by Juan’ya Green is boarded by Thomas, but Jordan’s three from the left wing is off the rim too. Hymes careens into the lane again, and the follow is called on Marvin Jordan—his second. Without McCall available, it’ll be interesting to see who Mihalich turns to. It’s Lemmons checking back in. 21-15 Niagara.
11:04—Excellent post defense by Joe Thomas on Anosike, who lifts his pivot foot before getting an elbow to the forehead. He’s fine, but it’s still a travel. Mason leaves his runner short in the lane, but Lemmons snags the rebound and resets. Jordan misses a trey from the deep left corner, but Joe Thomas hauls in the offensive rebound and scores with his left off the glass. Rob Poole explodes to the rim and bashes into Joe Thomas—his first foul—and Poole talks a little trash to Marvin Jordan on the way to the free-throw line. The Siena sharp-shooter pings in the first free throw.
11:17—Under 12 timeout, 16-12 Niagara. Despite the slim lead, it’s been a rocky start for Mihalich’s club—two quick fouls on Devon White, a (likely) serious injury to freshman starter Tahj McCall and wild shooting from T.J. Cline has forced the Niagara coach to use his bench heavily. We haven’t seen too much of Joe Thomas this year, but expect a large chunk of playing time today.
11:49—Antoine Mason calmly nails a three from the right wing, and he flexes as he jogs back down the floor. 16-12 Niagara. Siena’s Hymes hoists another deep trey, and it doesn’t fall—Thomas with a good box out for the Purple Eagles. Lemmons travels for Niagara as his pivot foot slides in the lane, and we’re at a media timeout.
12:55—Cline’s three is short, and he doesn’t follow his miss. Martens is fouled at the other end—it’s on Marvin Jordan. 13-12 Niagara after Siena’s Martens sinks both free throws this time after missing both on his last trip. A nice feed by Mason to Cline in the post—the freshman isn’t prepared for the ball, fumbles it and then misses a layup. Steal by Mason on the perimeter, however, and Evan Hymes strips him on the fastbreak—no foul. Seldom-used Joe Thomas enters for Cline, who’s had an atrocious start to this quarterfinal.
14:09—Purple Eagles show a little match-up zone, and Martens draws a foul on Antoine Mason—Martens clanks the first, and his second rims out too. Ameen Tanksley dribbles into terrific position on the right block, and he scores softly off the glass. Poole’s three is short, but the long arms of Martens are first to the offensive board. Hymes’ deep three swishes through the hoop before Green can contest, and the 5’8 sophomore keeps his wrist high and admires his shot as he trots back. A little annoying.
15:03—Back to live action, Martens misses a banker, but then Cline badly airballs a three. Burdine appeals for a foul call against Cline, and his lay-up comes up short. No foul—at the other end, Antoine Mason bulls into Rakeem Brookins, who’s in the game for the first time. Both of Mason’s free throws are good—12-7 NU.
15:13—As McCall is helped to the sideline, he’s weeping his injury is so severe. At this point, it doesn’t look like he’ll return, and he’s being helped to the locker room by two team managers. A lot of pressure will be on Niagara reserve guard Marvin Jordan, perhaps for the remainder of the tournament.
15:33—Holding the ball in the high post, Anosike sees Cline sagging off him, but instead of shooting, whips a no-look pass to an uncovered Trenity Burdine for an uncontested lay-up. Niagara’s defensive rotation was poor, and Tahjere McCall is being attended to at the opposite end of the floor. Injury timeout, as McCall is getting his right leg rubbed by a trainer. Currently 9-7 Niagara.
17:03 —McCall hangs in the air on the left elbow and knocks in a short jumper. Rob Poole steps out before McCall can close on him, and he nails a triple giving Siena a 5-4 lead. Poole struck for five treys last night in the pre-quarter win over Marist. At the other end, Green’s shot-fake loses Burdine, who’s forced to foul. Juan’ya will shoot a pair from the line. First is good. The second caroms off the front rim and drops through. Missed runner by Burdine, and Niagara takes off on the break—Antoine Mason rises into Evan Hymes, absorbs contact and scores off the backboard. And-one! His free throw is good, and it’s now 9-5 NU.
18:36 —Both defenses have shown exclusively zone so far—McCall slices down the left side of the lane and misses off the window. After a missed switch by NU, Martens darted for the rim and threw down a thunderous dunk. Tanksley tries three from the deep left corner, and Rob Poole grabs the loose ball rebound. Hand-check foul on Devon White, who grabbed the jersey of Anosike. Anosike attacks White again, drawing NU’s second foul. White is furious as he heads to the bench, and NU coach Joe Mihalich is already berating an official.
19:07—Good ball-fake by Silas, but he misses at the rim and McCall sprints in the other direction. Green’s jumper is errant for NU, and strong-armed Anosike hauls down the rebound. Silas tries to spin the post, but he shuffles his pivot foot—a turnover. Silas heads to the bench and is replaced by Davis Martens.
19:42—Niagara’s White rips the ball from Anosike’s grasp and McCall tears down the left side in transition. He hands to Tanksley, who smashes into Imoh Silas, drawing a personal. Tanksley’s first toss is good. Second drops in too. 2-0 NU.
20:00—Siena trots onto the floor wearing full yellow jerseys with green trim, names and numbers. Niagara sports its home whites with purple trim. Devon White and Anosike are set for tip-off, and here goes Niagara’s quest for a MAAC title.
Niagara starters: Guards Juan’ya Green, Tahjere McCall and Antoine Mason with forward Ameen Tanksley and center Devon White.
Siena starters: Guards Evan Hymes and Rob Poole, forwards Trenity Burdine and O.D. Anosike, and center Imoh Silas.
Pre-game—Maybe 50-60 Niagara fans in attendance today, mostly parents of the players. Doesn’t look like a Niagara University bus made the trip for students, at least. Considering Siena is much closer in proximity, it’s not surprising that the fan support is heavily weighted in the Saints’ favor.
Pre-game—Just had to move cross-court to a new media spot, which honestly is a better view of the action. Two minutes remaining in warm-up, and Siena’s Rakeem Brookins is on the floor looking fairly spry, a positive sign for Mitch Buonaguro. Brookins, who was saddled with a back injury for the final five games of the regular season, made a surprise return last night in Siena’s triumph over Marist.
Pre-game—For a complete preview of today’s quarterfinal match-up, head here.
Pre-game—After an unparalleled 13-5 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference season, the Niagara Purple Eagles rumble into the MassMutual Center as the top seed against the No. 9 Siena Saints. Tip-off is at 2:30 p.m., and we’ll be live-blogging for this contest and Canisius vs. Iona at 4:30. Stay tuned for frequent updates, and check out fellow Buffalo.com’er Katie Costello’s fan blog: “Quirky blonde takes the MAAC, Day 1.”