Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Siena Men's Long Season Reaches CBI Title Series

And, the Siena men's basketball team plays on.

The Saints, the last active MAAC men's team, continued the longest season in their history with an impressive 61-49 victory over Illinois State in the semifinal round of the CBI Tournament Wednesday night at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.

The outcome sends Siena to the event's championship series, a two-of-three format, against the winner of Wednesday's late contest between Fresno State and Old Dominion.

The first game of the series will be Monday, with Siena going on the road.

Game 2, on April 2, will be at the TUC. A third game, if necessary, will be played on April 4 in the Albany area.

The TUC has a conflict that night, another event scheduled in the building, which would mean Siena would likely be looking for an alternate site.

The school has used the Glens Falls Civic Center once for a post-season event when the TUC was not available. A move to the school's on-campus Alumni Recreation Center (seating capacity 3,750) has also been discussed should a third game in the championship series be necessary.

Siena advanced as its 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Brett Bisping got a measure of revenge against a home-area opponent with a 20-point, 13-rebound effort.

Bisping grew up in Peoria, Ill, about 30 miles away from Illinois State.

"They didn't even give me a look," said Bisping about being overlooked by Wednesday's opponent during his recruitment process. "Of course that was in the back of my mind."

Siena ran out to an early 9-0 lead, had a 13-point lead shortly before halftime and never its margin get cut to less than seven points in the second half.

The Saints, picked to finish 10th in the 11-team MAAC in the preseason poll of coaches, are now 18-17 overall.

"No one thought we'd get 18 wins this season," said first-year coach Jimmy Patsos. "Me either. If you had predicted we'd get 18 wins, I'd have taken that bet (against)."

The outcome keeps what is already the longest season in program history going.

Siena's 35 games to date (with at least two more coming) is already the most in any season in the program's history. Those come on top of playing four games on a summer swing to Montreal in August.

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