Add three more names to the list of impressive starts by first year MAAC players, all from Siena's season-opening 65-56 victory over Navy at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday night.
Three Saints' freshmen were instumental in Wednesday's victory. Evan Hymes, a 5-foot-8 point guard pressed into stating duties due to back woes that will keep sophomore Rakeem Brookins out for the season, had 10 points and thee assists in 24 minutes before leg cramps forced him out of the game midway through the second half.
Another freshman, 6-2 guard Davonte Beard, took over for Hymes at the point and finished with seven points and four assists. And, 6-5 frosh swingman ob Poole had nine points and two assists, playing 32 minutes.
Saints' coach Mitch Buonaguro used the word "elated" over and over afterwards to describe the court debut of his freshmen players.
It was all much needed Wednesday by the Saints, who currently only have eight scholarship players, and lost senior starter Owen Wignot after just six minutes when he fell to the floor and suffered a cut on is head. And, then, Hymes went out with more than 10 minutes left to play leaving Siena with just six scholarship bodies, including three freshman (the other frosh, 6-7 forward Marcus Hopper had three points and two rebounds in seven minutes), for the remainder of the game.
For sure no conference team will need production from its freshmen more than Siena. And, for a night ... well, Buonaguro had good reason to be elated.
AND, ONE MORE ...
On the women's side, Kristina Danella had a nice debut game for Marist, getting 11 points and 9 rebounds in the Red Foxes' season-opening loss against Villanova on Wednesday night.
Danella is a junior transfer from UMass, where she averaged 12.7 points per game as a sophomore in the 2009-10 season before leaving that program for Marist. She came off the bench on Wednesday and still led Marist in rebounding and was its second-leading scorer.