GAME NOTES: A couple of teams taking a break from their respective conference schedules get together in the Empire State on Sunday afternoon as the Siena Saints host the Radford Highlanders at the Times Union Center as part of the annual BracketBusters series.
Radford, which hails from the Big South Conference, has just two more league bouts before the conference tournament gets underway in early March. The team is coming off a difficult 72-66 overtime loss to Campbell earlier this week. In terms of playing on the road, the Highlanders have a record of just 3-11 this season.
Representing the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Saints are hoping they can bring an end to a five-game slide when they take the floor at home this weekend. The team was last in action eight days ago versus Loyola Maryland and bowed by a final of 80-57, dropping the program to just 4-12 in MAAC action and 6-21 on the campaign overall.
The Saints own a 2-0 mark against Radford heading into this contest, winning the most recent matchup by a score of 67-59 in overtime in 2000.
Considering the Highlanders turned the ball over 20 times and shot just 3- of-14 behind the 3-point line, it is rather remarkable that Radford was even able to get the meeting with Campbell into overtime before suffering the home loss. Javonte Green stepped up with 23 points and R.J. Price dropped in another 12 points, but between the pair they were responsible for 11 miscues.
Green, the only player to have started all 28 games for Radford this season, is the top scorer with 15.0 ppg as he shoots 51.3 percent from the floor, but he is also just 59.1 percent accurate at the free-throw line. Price comes up with another 14.2 ppg, but while he has a better touch at the charity stripe (.714), his 38.7 percent from the field is something that could stand improvement.
Typically a double-double just waiting to happen, something he did in all seven games the Saints played in the month of November, O.D. Anosike has done so just seven times since. He still leads the team in both categories with 12.7 points and 11.5 rebounds per outing, but Anosike hasn't been nearly as dominant a force in the paint. It may have something to do with the fact that he is averaging more than 37 minutes per game and is one of only two players (Evan Hymes) to have started all 27 contests this season.
From a defensive standpoint, the Saints simply could not slow down Loyola last weekend at home, allowing the visitors to shoot close to 53 percent from the floor and 8-of-15 behind the 3-point line, more than enough to bury Siena by a significant margin. Trenity Burdine scored a team-best 12 points before fouling out, while Anosike responded with 10 points and just seven rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
There aren't too many more chances for Anosike to perform in front of a favorable crowd, so now would be the time for him to give the Saints exactly what they need to succeed.
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