Siena (2-6) at St. Bonaventure (4-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 4, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- St. Bonaventure, New York. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Siena 0-3, St. Bonaventure 2-0. Away Record: Siena 1-2, St. Bonaventure 1-2. Neutral Record: Siena 1-1, St. Bonaventure 1-0. Conference Record: Siena 0-0, St. Bonaventure 0-0. Series Record: St. Bonaventure leads, 27-6.
GAME NOTES: Empire State rivals square off on Tuesday night, as the St. Bonaventure Bonnies play host to the Siena Saints.
Siena has gotten off to a rough start this season, suffering losses in six of its first eight contests. The Saints are in the midst of a four-game losing streak, with their most recent defeat coming at the hands of cross-town rival Albany on Saturday, 69-56.
St. Bonaventure won its first three games of the season before losing two of its next three to Canisius (72-69) and Ohio University (69-64). The Bonnies bounced back on Saturday with an 82-79 home verdict over Buffalo, a game in which they rallied to win in the final minute.
The Bonnies have a commanding 27-6 advantage in the all-time series with Siena, but the Saints have claimed victory in each of the past two seasons.
The Saints have played well on defense through their first eight games, as they allow foes to shoot just 39.1 percent from the field for an average of 63.1 ppg. Unfortunately, they do not have the offensive chops (.388, 59.0 ppg) to support it. In the loss to Albany, Siena actually shot a solid 47.1 percent from the field, but committed 18 turnovers and made just seven trips to the foul line. Rob Poole was one of the few bright spots in the setback, shooting 8-of-14 from the floor en route to 19 points, which tied his career-high. Evan Hymes added 12 points, but he also turned the ball over six times. On the season, Hymes nets a team-best 14.1 ppg, but he hurts the club nearly as much as he helps it with a poor field goal percentage (.343) and a high turnover rate (5.4 tpg). O.D. Anosike tallies 13.6 ppg and he is one of the nation's best rebounders with 13.3 caroms per contest. Poole chips in 12.3 ppg, and Rakeem Brookings scores 11.7 ppg, but he will miss at least a month as he recovers from a back injury.
The Bonnies were able to hold on to win a tight matchup with Buffalo by shooting 46.4 percent from the floor, and although they made just 57.9 percent of their shots from the foul line (22-of-38), they took 15 more trips to the stripe than did the Bulls. They also made a difference in the turnover battle, forcing 19 miscues while coughing it up just nine times themselves. Demitrius Conger scored 20 points to pace the squad, with Chris Johnson (14 points), Matthew Wright (11 points), and Charlon Kloof (10 points) also putting up double-figure scoring averages. On the season, St. Bonaventure has been rather modest from the field (.449), but its three-point percentage has been impressive (.398), which helps it average 72.0 ppg. Johnson scores a team-best 16.2 ppg in hitting better than 54 percent of his total shots. Conger adds 14.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, and 3.0 apg, while Eric Mosley has been an effective piece off the bench with 11.2 ppg on 54.8 percent accuracy from beyond the arc.
Siena certainly has the ability to play better than its poor record indicates, but against a quality opponent like St. Bonaventure on the road, don't figure the Saints to snap their skid just yet.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 75, Siena 65
12/04 10:54:04 ET