2014 CBI Recap: Siena Tops Illinois State, To Face Fresno State In Final

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Your final for the best-of-three championship series in the College Basketball Invitational is set, and the Siena Saints will represent the mid-majors after opening fast and staying stout on defense to claim their spot. Brent Bisping's continued dominance leads the Saints into the College Basketball Invitational final against the Fresno State Bulldogs.

A quick quiz.

Which of the following is likely to cause you to lose a basketball game?

  • A) Shooting 9.5% from 3-point range
  • B) Shooting 55% from the free-throw line
  • C) Your leading scorer shooting 21% from the field
  • D) Any of the above
If you chose D, then you would be correct. The problem for Illinois State is that they didn't just choose D, they actually chose to do all of the above. By the first media timeout, the Redbirds had zero points and six rebounds, while Bisping has six points and four rebounds by himself. Siena rattled off runs of 12-2 and 12-4 in the first half, and Illinois State struggled just to keep the deficit in single digits.

The Redbirds gradually pulled out of that offensive funk, but not far enough; the Saints only made three field goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half, but ISU was still down, 42-34, at the under-eight TV timeout. The Saints continued to score, and then Illinois State went quiet again, making one basket over the final four minutes while Siena did that whole sealing-the-deal-from-the-free-throw-line thing.

In the other semifinal, Old Dominion fell to Fresno State by a 71-64 final. The Monarchs held Fresno to only two field goals over the final eight minutes, but the Bulldogs managed to shoot 14-for-15 from the free-throw line in that span, preventing Old Dominion from ever closing the gap and coming out on the winning end of the game.

Siena and Fresno State will now face off in a best-of-three championship series that will begin on Monday, March 31. All games will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

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