Siena basketball gets ready for late start against Fairfield

CaptionCloseOn Saturday night, Siena senior forward Javion Ogunyemi will play the latest game of his college basketball career at Times Union Center. He's not complaining about it.The fourth-seeded Saints are scheduled to tip off against No. 5 Fairfield...

Siena basketball gets ready for late start against Fairfield

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On Saturday night, Siena senior forward Javion Ogunyemi will play the latest game of his college basketball career at Times Union Center. He's not complaining about it.

The fourth-seeded Saints are scheduled to tip off against No. 5 Fairfield at 9:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament. It could start closer to 9:45 or 10 p.m and finish around midnight, even past it.

"It's a little late, but we weren't the one or two seed, so they (the MAAC) are not really here to comfort us," Ogunyemi reasoned.

If the Saints can beat the Stags for the third time this season, they won't have long to savor it. The winner gets a semifinal with top-seeded Monmouth on Sunday at 4:30 p.m., which will have a full day's rest assuming the Hawks aren't shocked in their Friday quarterfinal against Quinnipiac or Niagara.

Siena coach Jimmy Patsos declined to speculate how difficult it might be for the Saints (15-16 overall, 12-8 MAAC) to recover from a win over Fairfield to beat Monmouth about 16 hours later. The Saints don't have much depth, relying mainly on the five starters and sophomore sixth man Nico Clareth.

MAAC awards

Men

All-MAAC first team

Tyler Nelson, Fairfield

Jordan Washington, Iona*

#Justin Robinson, Monmouth*

Micah Seaborn, Monmouth

Quadir Welton, Saint Peter's

All-MAAC second team

Kassius Robertson, Canisius

Khallid Hart, Marist

Trevis Wyche, Saint Peter's

Brett Bisping, Siena

Marquis Wright, Siena

All-MAAC third team

Jermaine Crumpton, Canisius

Zane Waterman, Manhattan

Matt Scott, Niagara

Jimmie Taylor, Rider

Kahlil Thomas, Rider

Women

All-MAAC first team

Kelsey Carey, Fairfield

Alexis Lewis, Iona

Marina Lizarazu, Iona#

Robin Perkins, Rider*

Jackie Benitez, Siena

All-MAAC second team

Sara Hinriksdottir, Canisius

Victoria Rampado, Niagara

Adily Martucci, Quinnipiac

Kamila Hoskova, Rider

Kollyns Scarbrough, Siena

All-MAAC third team

Casey Smith, Fairfield

Kayla Grimme, Manhattan

Jen Fay, Quinnipiac

Aryn McClure, Quinnipiac

Julia Duggan, Rider

*Denotes unanimous selection

#Repeat first-team selection

"I'm just worried about the 9:30 game," Patsos said. "Why are we borrowing problems from tomorrow when we have plenty to worry about today? You have to try to win Saturday night."

Patsos said freshman guard Khalil Richard and freshman center Sammy Friday could play a larger role against Fairfield. "We're getting deeper," he said.

Stags head coach Sydney Johnson knows how hard the quick turnaround is. The Stags played in the late quarterfinal against Saint Peter's at 9:50 p.m. last season. Fairfield won and faced Monmouth the next afternoon. The Stags lost to the No. 1-seeded Hawks 76-63.

"I think it's very difficult," Johnson said. "There's no doubt about it. It's very difficult. ... I think at that part of the year, though, there's two things. One, I think your conference has to be put together to protect the one and two seed. So whatever is best for them because they've played at a very high level, that's what you've got to do. The second thing, to be perfectly frank, if we're able to advance, I'm not complaining about a thing."

Siena has beaten Fairfield (16-13, 11-9) in two very different games this season. Siena prevailed 80-73 in Albany on Dec. 3, when Clareth scored a career-high 33 points. When they met again six weeks later, the Saints didn't have Clareth, who had just begun a seven-game leave from the program. But Siena slowed Fairfield in a 63-54 victory in Bridgeport, Conn.

The Stags enter the tournament with momentum coming off a sweep of the western New York trip last weekend.

"We know we have our work cut out for us with Siena," Johnson said.

Siena senior forward Brett Bisping said he wasn't caught up in the tournament opponent. He insisted he was more focused on Siena playing its best basketball at the most important time.

"It think they (Fairfield) are a tough team," Bisping said. "They could beat us. They've got a lot of weapons, so we have to be ready to go."

Bisping and senior guard Marquis Wright were named to the all-MAAC second team on Monday. Ogunyemi and senior guard/forward Lavon Long weren't chosen to any of the three teams.

Fairfield has the MAAC's second-leading scorer in junior guard Tyler Nelson, named first-team all-MAAC on Monday. He averages 18.9 points per game. Sophomore guards Curtis Cobb (12.7 ppg) and Jerry Johnson Jr. (11.5) also average in double figures and 6-8 graduate forward Amadou Sidibe is the MAAC's second-leading rebounder (9.4 pg) behind Bisping (9.6).

Long said it's challenging to beat a team three times in one season.

"It's tough mentally because you'll kind of start to look past people," he said. "But you can't look past anyone. So if we stay solid, we should be fine."

msingelais@timesunion.com • 518-454-5509 • @MarkSingelais

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