March 9, 2008
Albany, N.Y. - Siena's Josh Duell's layup with 19.9 seconds remaining finished off a wild comeback for the top-seeded Saints and ended the season for Loyola as Siena led for the first time in the second half on that final basket in recording a 65-63 MAAC Semifinal victory Sunday night at the Times Union Center. The win puts the Saints in Monday night's MAAC Championship game against second-seeded Rider.
"It was a great game in a great atmosphere. We just didn't make enough shots," Loyola fourth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said of the season-ending loss. "I wish we could have gotten a couple of shots to go down. If we make some of those shots, we win the game."
Loyola (19-14) built a 38-21 lead with 3:36 remaining in the first half when freshman guard Brian Rudolph banked in a three-pointer from the top of the key as the shot clock expired. The bucket capped a 27-9 Loyola run as senior forwards Omari Isreal and Michael Tuck led the way with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Those would be the last points the Greyhounds would score before the intermission as Alex Franklin scored four of his 16 first-half points to end seven straight points for the Saints and close the half at 38-28 in favor of Loyola.
As good as Franklin was in the first 20 minutes, that how good Saints All-MAAC First Team performer Kenny Hasbrouck was in the final 20 minutes. Held scoreless at the intermission after missing his three first-half shots, Hasbrouck made seven of his 14 second-half attempts, including three three-pointers to bring the Saints (21-10) back.
It took until Franklin's tip-in with 1:14 remaining for Siena to erase all of that 17-point deficit. Senior guard Gerald Brown had a chance to give the lead back to the Greyhounds on the next possession, but his three-pointer rimmed in and out and Saints guard Ronald Moore rebounded the ball, setting up Duell's shot.
Loyola got two more looks at the basket in the final 19 seconds, the first when junior guard Marquis Sullivan had his three-pointer rim out with 10 seconds left and again following a pair of Franklin missed free throws. Rudolph raced the ball up court, but his layup attempt was blocked out of bounds by Franklin and the Greyhounds could not get a shot off on the in-bounds play with under three seconds remaining.
"Omari Isreal was the player of the game," Patsos said. "To get a double-double and handle the ball under all that full-court pressure really says a lot about Omari and his desire to win and play another game."
Isreal collected his first double-double of the season and fourth of his career with a career-high 18 rebounds to go along with 12 points, three assists and three blocks. Sullivan tallied 14 points off the bench and Tuck and Brown each added 13.
Franklin posted a double-double of his own with 22 points and 12 rebounds. All of Hasbrouck's 17 points came in the second half while Edwin Ubiles chipped in with 14 points and Moore added 10.