Siena men's basketball coach Jimmy Patsos talked to juniors Rob Poole and Evan Hymes and sophomore Ryan Oliver this week about taking ownership of their inexperienced team. The trio had their fingerprints all over a 67-63 victory over Manhattan on Friday before 7,928 at Times Union Center. The Saints put frustrating losses behind them and finally proved they could beat the elite of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. "That just shows our young guys that we can play with anybody in the MAAC," Hymes said. "We've just got to put our minds to it." Siena (12-16 overall, 8-9 MAAC) improved to 1-6 this season against the top four teams in the conference. "We came out and won the game and it puts us on the map a little bit," Poole said. With his father in attendance for the first time this season, Hymes broke out of a recent slump to score 17 points, including the 1,000th of his career. Poole added 17 points and made 5 of 6 foul shots in the last 19 seconds to hold off Manhattan (20-7, 13-5), which lost for the 10th straight time at Times Union Center. Oliver made a pair of 3-pointers in span of 1 minute, 2 seconds, both with the shot clock running down, to put Siena up 60-54 with 1:43 to play. "I talked to them the other day about, 'Don't be afraid to take ownership,' " Patsos said. "I thought Rob, Ryan and Evan really did tonight." The Jaspers helped by shooting 19-for-42 from the foul line. With Manhattan trailing 63-60, Shane Richards had a chance to tie when he was fouled by Troy native Javion Ogunyemi while attempting a 3-pointer with 13.8 seconds left. Instead, Richards, an 80 percent foul shooter, missed two of three. "The bottom line is you can't miss 23 free throws and expect to win a conference game on the road," Manhattan coach Steve Masiello said. Siena was grateful after losing two games in overtime and another by a point this month. "It's just great to come up with a win at the end of a game," Poole said. "They missed some free throws and we got lucky. I think luck kind of bounced our way this time and usually it doesn't." The victory set up Siena for a showdown at fifth-place Rider on Sunday. Siena moved within a game of Rider, which lost to Iona on Friday. Whoever finishes fifth gets the final first-round bye in the MAAC Tournament next month.
Saints score big victory over Manhattan
Albany Times Union | Feb 22