Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jackson "Delivers" In Return For Siena

UPS has the advertising tagline "What Can Brown Do For You?"

The Siena men's team, though, could paraphrase the motto, asking itself "What Can Jackson Do For You?"

The Jackson in question is senior guard Clarence Jackson, a first-team all-MAAC preseason selection who has missed nine games this season, parts of two others and has been limited to a sub-double figure number of practices this season due to badly sprained ankles.

But, after his most-recent three-game absence, Jackson returned to the Siena lineup for Friday's game against Manhattan.

What can Jackson do for you? Only this: With Manhattan having pulled ahead, 39-37, midway through the second half against the Saints Jackson drained a long-range three-pointer to restore his team's lead.

And, later in the half, when Manhattan was still within four points with under two minutes remaining. Saints' center Ryan Rossiter was triple-teammed in the post but was able to find Jackson lurking on the deep perimeter, and Jackson delivered again with a trey that pushed the Saints' lead to 56-49 and the Jaspers never seriously threatened again.

In all, Jackson only made 3-of-9 shots in the contest, all 3-pointers, as a little rust from all the inactivity remains still visible. But, he was 3-of-7 from beyond the bonus stripe, and all three were figurative daggers (the first came in the first half, extending a six-point Siena lead to nine) to the Jaspers.

"That's what he does for you," said Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro. "Those three shots he makes are all backbreakers. That's why it's important to have him out there."

It's important because without Jackson Siena lacks a consistent perimeter threat that can draw attention away from its 6-foot-9 post standout Ryan Rossiter. Without that threat Rossiter faces double- and triple-team attention every game. But, if opponents use perimeter players to drop down and help out on Rossiter when Jackson is on the court, then Jackson can foil the strategy by making open long-range shots, much like he did Friday.

Without Jackson Siena looks like a second-tier team in the MAAC hierarchy this season. With him? On any given night the Saints are capable of beating any MAAC opponent.

In other words, Jackson delivers.

"We need him," admitted Buonaguro, about Jackson. "We're a different team when he's out there and when he's healthy."

None of that was lost on Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen, who delivered the best post-game line of the night about the Siena long-range bomber.

"I like coming up here and seeing you," Rohrssen said when speaking to this blogger. "But, I don't like seeing Clarence Jackson."

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