Siena men hold off late rally by Manhattan, win 89-76 to advance to the MAAC Semifinals

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Brett Bisping had 22 points and 16 rebounds and Lavon Long added 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists off the bench in Siena’s 89-76 MAAC quarterfinal win over Manhattan Saturday night at Times Union Center. The third-seeded Saints advance to play second-seeded Iona Sunday at 7 p.m.

“We just beat the defending champs, and that took a lot out of us,” Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. “Now, we have to get ready for Iona.”

The Saints led for nearly 37 minutes, but the game had plenty of intrigue down the stretch. Manhattan used an 8-0 run to pull within 73-70 with 5:07 left, but Javion Ogunyemi scored the next five points, triggering a 7-0 Siena run that pushed the lead back to double figures.

The key moment in the game came when Ogunyemi banked in a contested three as the shot clock expired, extending the lead to 78-70 with 3:14 left. Ogunyemi finished with 16 points and Ryan Oliver had 10 to round out Siena’s double figure scorers. Marquis Wright added nine points and eight assists.

Siena took advantage of 28 Manhattan fouls to shoot 45 free throws, the fourth most ever in a MAAC Tournament game. The Saints were 35-45 from the line, compared to 14-20 for the Jaspers. Siena controlled a 46-21 advantage on the glass. Manhattan scored 25 points off 20 Siena turnovers.

“I knew that was the kind of game it was going to be,” Patsos said. “I thought we grinded for 40 minutes; a lot of guys got to play.”

Bisping was ferocious in posting his 11th 20-plus point performance and 13th double-double of the season, but Long was the X-factor.

“Lavon was the terminator,” Patsos said. “He’s got one (game) down and two to go. I’m proud of him for really stepping up. It would have been easy to … put his head in the sand.”

Junior Rich Williams kept Manhattan in striking range, scoring 26 points on 9-15 shooting. Siena held MAAC First Team selection Shane Richards to just 12 points on 5-16 shooting. Patsos credited freshman Nico Clareth for leading the defensive effort.

“There’s more pressure on them when they’re the home team,” Manhattan coach Steve Masiello said. “I thought it was a terrific basketball game, and Jimmy really had them ready to go.”

Siena advances to the MAAC semifinals for the 17th time in its 27 years as a league member. The Saints improve to 8-2 all-time against Manhattan in MAAC Tournament play and have won eight straight over the Jaspers. Siena has never beaten Iona (0-7) in the MAAC Tournament, and the Gaels are the only team the Saints have a losing record against.

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