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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Siena Men’s Basketball: Despite Honoring 1993-94 Team, Current Saints Suffer 22nd Loss


ALBANY — The MVP Arena was filled ⁢with excitement and anticipation as Siena men’s basketball fans gathered for a ‍thrilling game on Sunday.

Regrettably, the most ​exhilarating moments for the fans were during the halftime show.

On this special ⁤day, Siena paid tribute to its former ⁣star player, Doremus Bennerman, and the 1993-94 team that secured third​ place at the NIT. However, the ⁤current Saints team couldn’t ‍keep up the momentum, losing 73-64 to Canisius, bringing their overall record to 4-22 and 3-12 in the MAAC.

Despite the loss, center Gio Emejuru had⁢ an impressive performance for the‌ Saints, scoring a career-high 23 points and securing‌ 14 rebounds. However, the Golden Griffins​ (10-15, ‌5-10) maintained a 36-28 halftime lead and kept Siena at bay in the second half.

During the halftime break, Siena celebrated Doremus Bennerman’s recent​ induction into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, retired his jersey No. 23, and welcomed⁤ members of the 1993-94 team, including former head coach Mike Deane. Bennerman holds​ the school​ record for scoring 51 points against Kansas State in an NIT game at Madison Square Garden and still holds the ‌record for total points (174) at an NIT.

“I was really hoping to secure this win for coach Deane, Doremus, Stu [Downing], ⁢and [Brian] Bidlingmyer, as they were the ones who truly put this program on the map,” said current head⁣ coach Carm Maciariello, a Shenendehowa grad who witnessed‍ Siena’s NIT victories ⁣over Georgia Tech ⁣and Tulane in ⁤Albany.

“We need ⁢to keep pushing forward. I know⁢ it may sound repetitive, but we are gaining valuable experience for our players, and now we need​ to apply it.”

Siena played without ‍their top scorer and rebounder Sean Durugordon (due ⁢to illness)⁢ and freshman guard Michael Evbagharu (back injury), but they⁢ started strong,⁤ leading 15-8 just over five minutes into the game.

Canisius gradually‍ reduced the Saints’ lead and maintained their lead after going ahead 20-18.

The Saints narrowed the gap to​ 49-44 on‌ Mason Courtney’s 3-pointer with 11:23⁤ left in the⁢ game.

Canisius sealed the game with 4:23 left when ​Tre⁤ Dinkins​ scored a 3-pointer off⁤ a​ turnover for a 71-53 lead. Dinkins made five of⁣ eight 3’s and finished with 22 points.

Courtney ​and freshman Michael Ojo each contributed 12 points for Siena.

“I believe we put in a commendable ⁤effort, especially towards the end,” Maciariello said. “We ‍started the game well, Gio was really focused and aggressive, and that’s the kind of performance we love to see, his hard work⁢ and physicality.”

“The guards were finding me when I ⁤was open,” Emejuru said. “When‍ they can see my chest, they pass the ball. That’s what was​ working for us.”

Regular starters Michael Eley and Zek Tekin were benched with 16:32 left and⁤ Siena trailing 43-34.

They remained on the bench for the ⁢rest of the game, ⁣as Maciariello primarily stuck with a lineup that included Emejuru, Ojo, Courtney, Bralyn Smith, and Kyle Winters.

“I was just going​ with the players ‌that were performing well on the​ court,” ⁤Maciariello⁣ said. “I didn’t make too many substitutions and stuck with the players that were doing⁣ well.”

With⁣ five regular-season games left and‌ a break⁤ until next Sunday ​afternoon,⁢ Siena⁢ is looking to build some momentum heading into the MAAC Tournament.

“We need to get everyone healthy,” Maciariello said. “We need to find consistency in our performance, understanding how Gio and Ojo can play. But we also ⁣need to learn from‌ our experiences and understand game plans, not just ⁣some of the time, ⁤but all the time.”


Mitchell 6-8 0-0 ⁢12, ⁣Dinkins 7-13 3-3 22, ​Williams⁤ 1-3 2-2 4, Palesse 4-10 2-2 10, Gadsden 4-7 0-1 ‍9,‍ Fritz 3-4 1-3 ⁢7, ⁤Okpoh⁤ 3-8 2-4 9, Ware 0-1 0-0 0, Porter 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 28-55 10-15 ‍73.


Emejuru 8-12 7-9 23, Ojo 3-7 4-5 12, Tekin 3-10 1-1‌ 8, Eley 0-5 0-1 0,‌ Courtney 4-8 0-1 12, Smith 0-2 2-2 2, Gribben 0-1 0-0 0, ⁤Birgisson 0-1 0-0 ⁢0, Winters 3-5 0-0 7. Totals: ⁣21-51 14-19 64.

Halftime: Canisius 36, Siena 28. 3-point goals: Canisius 7-15 (Mitchell 0-1,​ Dinkins 5-8, Palesse⁢ 0-1, Gadsden 1-2, Okpoh 1-1, Ware 0-1, Porter 0-1); Siena: 8-23 (Ojo​ 2-4, Tekin 1-4, Eley 0-4, ​Courtney 4-8, Smith 0-1, Winters⁢ 1-2). Rebounds: Canisius 30 (Okpoh 8); Siena 32 (Emejuru 14).⁢ Assists: Canisius 13 (Dinkins 4); Siena 12 (Courtney,‌ Smith, Winters 3). Turnovers: Canisius 6; Siena 8. Total fouls: Canisius 17; Siena⁤ 14.⁤ Attendance: 4,931.

Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan, an informed and passionate sports reporter, is a former college athlete with a degree in Sports Communication from Ithaca College. Go Bombers!
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  1. Disagree – Paying tribute to the 1993-94 team is important for the Saints’ history, regardless of the current season’s losses.


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