Friday, November 26, 2010

Siena Dominates Rider (Again) in Opener

Rider had opened the season with a 4-1 record, while three-time defending MAAC champion Siena was 1-3 before the teams met Friday night at the Broncs' Alumni Gymnasium in what was the first meeting of conference opponents of any league nationally.

But, sometimes the more things seemed to have changed the more they remain the same.

The Saints opened defense of their league title and their attempt to become the only men's team in MAAC history with four consecutive regular-season championships by doing what they seem to have made a habit of in meetings with the Broncs by dominating a significant portion of Friday's contest.

Siena earned a 73-60 victory over Rider, turning around a 41-35 deficit with a 29-7 run over a 10-minute second-half stretch to take full control.

Rider has had no success against the Saints of late, losing both regular-season meetings last season (by a combined 48 points) and a MAAC tournament semifinal-round contest by 10 points.

Rider had been trying to go to 5-1, which would have been its fastest start to a season since 1997-98, but fell to 4-2 overall instead.

Siena, now 2-3 overall, captured its conference opener for the sixth straight season.

The Saints' 6-foot-9 senior center Ryan Rossiter continued to live up to his preseason Player of the Year recognition with an 18-point, 17-rebound performance, his fourth double-double effort in five contests thus far.

For his career Rossiter has 36 double-doubles, matching the all-time record for that by Siena players, also held by early 1990's standout center Lee Matthews.

Rider had come in averaging 75 points per game, second best among MAAC teams, but was held to 15 below that average. The Broncs particularly struggled in the second half, scoring just 24 points in the final 20 minutes and just 12 for the first 13 minutes of the second half.

Rossiter entered the game as the fifth-leading rebounder nationally (12.3 per game). After his 17 boards against Rider he now averages 13.4 per contest.

Rossiter's board work Friday night also moved him into fourth all-time on Siena's all-time list with 809, trailing only Matthews (1,037), Steve McCoy (969) and Alex Franklin (923).

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