The Siena Saints traveled to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania this evening to take on the Bucknell Bison. The Saints came in looking to extend their current win streak to 3 games after taking down Redford and Bryant in the regional semis and finals of the 2k Classic last week in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Bucknell would look to make it two straight agains MAAC teams after taking down Manhattan in Riverdale on Saturday.
Siena played ahead for most of the first half thanks to 16-32 shooting from the field lead by Javion Ogunyemi who tallied 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting. The Saint's lead would ballon to 31-24 with 5:48 left in the first half on Marquis Wright layup. But the Bison would battle back down the stretch of the first half going on a 12-6 run over the last 5 minutes. The Bison would enter the locker room down only one point, 37-36 thanks to a very strong performance from Bison sophomore forward Zach Thomas who had a team high 10 first half points.
Thomas would pick up right where he left off in the second half, opening the scoring with a 3-pointer to put the Bison ahead for the first time all night 39-37. The next several minutes would be a back and forth affair with each team trading buckets until the 7:06 mark when Siena would take the largest lead of either team in the second half, 58-54 on a dramatic Ogunyemi dunk off a nice feed from Wright. The Bison would draw back to within one on the following possessions after a Ryan Frazier layup and a Stephen Brown free throw, but Siena's Wright would strike again hitting a dagger 3 pointer to put the Saint's back up four, 61-57.
The Saints would not trail again until 17 seconds remaining in regulation. Marquis Wright would turn the ball over with 29 seconds remaining up 65-66 and follow the turnover with an immediate foul. Chris Hass would make both free throws to put the Bison up 67-66. Siena would have a chance to pull ahead with under 10 seconds remaining whet Siena junior Brett Bisping was fouled. He would make 1-of-2 at the line to draw even at 67. Bucknell would come up empty at the other end of the court at the buzzer forcing overtime.
Overtime was back and forth with no team leading by more than 4 points at any juncture. The final minute was action packed starting with Siena pulling ahead by two when Lavon Long went 1-2 at the line to put siena up 81-79 with 24.9 remaining. Chris Hass would tie it on the following possesion on a nice scoop lay-up to tie it at 81 with 12 seconds left. The Saints answered yet again on the following possession on a nice drive and dish from Wright who found Ogunyemi on the block for a layup that would prove to be the winning basket with 2.0 seconds left on the clock. Bucknell came within inches of stealing this one after almost pulling off a play reminiscent of the famous Valparaiso 1998 NCAA tournament buzzer beater. The ball was inbounded three-quarters of the court to the top of the arch where it was tipped to Hass at the sideline right in front of the Bucknell bench where he launched a 3-pointer that just missed off the front iron as the buzzer sounded.
The Saints had three players in double figures lead by Ogunyemi who had a game high 24. Wright and Bisping also added 15 and 16 points respectively. Bisping also lead the Saints with 16 rebounds recording the only double-double of the game for either team. Bucknell also had multiple players in double figures including Zach Tomas (20), Chris Hass (18), Nana Foulland (13) and Stephen Brown (12).
Siena will look to improve on their current three-game winning streak on Sunday when they host Loyola (MD). Bucknell will also be back in action on Sunday when they look to bounce back at Penn State.