With his team down 56-52 with 5:33 remaining, Siena's sophomore swingman Rob Poole stopped letting the game come to him and started looking to inflict his will on the proceedings in Friday's preliminary round contest with Marist.
"I was feeling it, and I was going to keep shooting," said Poole. "And they went in."
Poole helped bring Siena back, first with a long three-pointer. and, after a Marist bucket and two free throws by Siena's senior forward O.D. Anosike, Poole connected on another long-range shot to tie it up.
Three possessions later, Poole went one-on-one, drove to within about 12 feet, had to double clutch to avoid a defender's outstretched hand and banked one in to give his team a 64-61 lead with just over two minutes remaining.
Marist tied it back up on its next possession, but didn't score again.
The Saints then put it away when Trenity Burdine hit a free throw and followed with a driving bucket on his team's next possession.
Anosike slammed home a breakaway dunk at the buzzer to give the Saints a 70-64 victory to help 8-23 Siena advance to Saturday's 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal-round contest against top-seeded Niagara at the MassMutual Center.
"We know Niagara is playing with a tremdous amount of confidence," said Anosike. "But we'll try to slow them down offensively, we'll make them defend us for a full 35 seconds on the shot clock on every possession and if we do those things we have a very good chance of beating them."
The Saints would need the type effort it got against Marist, which finishes 10-21,particularly getting the better of some mirror-image matchups.
The contest matched two of the conference's best big men in Anosike and Marist's 6-foot-10 junior Adam Kemp.
Anosike, though, was overpowering Kemp for much of the contest and finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and even contributed five assists when the Red Foxes started sending extra defenders to help Kemp try to guard the Saints' big man. Kemp finished with 13 and 8.
And, then, there was the match of standout sophomore swingmen. While Marist's Chavaughn Lewis might have had better numbers (24 and 7) than Poole, the Saints sophomore came up big down the stretch and finished with 19 points, including 5-of-7 from beyond the bonus stripe.
"I thought he was just OK until the last seven minutes, or so and then he made some tough shots," said Marist coach Chuck Martin, about Poole. "You have to ive him credit. He could have easily missed those shots, but he didn't."
That seemed to epitomize Siena's play throughout. The Saints connected on 48.1 percent of its shots from the floor (25 of 52), whlie Marist made just 37.3 percent (22 of 59).