Siena Wins 2009 Citizens Bank MAAC Basketball Championship
Release: March 09, 2009
Albany, N.Y. - Kenny Hasbrouck shook off a nagging calf injury and a terrible first half to score 19 points in leading Siena to defend its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament title with a 77-70 win over Niagara on Monday night.
Ryan Rossiter added 16 points and 14 rebounds as the Saints (26-7) clinched their program's fifth NCAA tournament berth. Siena also completed its season with a 17-0 record on its home court, and extended its win streak to 21 dating to last season.
Tyrone Lewis scored 22 for the Purple Eagles (26-8), who will be left to settle for an NIT berth. Niagara lost for only the second time in 14 games and squandered an opportunity to match a school single-season record for wins.
As the final buzzer sounded, a throng of green and gold Saints supporters rushed the floor and carried Hasbrouck away with them in a frenzied celebration.
It was a fitting end for Hasbrouck, because all eyes were on him before tipoff after the MAAC Player of the Year hurt his right calf in the Saints' 80-65 win over Fairfield on Sunday. Hasbrouck didn't take part in the team's shootaround earlier in the day, but he looked limber during the pregame warmup.
It took a while, though, to find his range as Hasbrouck went 1-of-10 for two points in the first half.
The second half was a different story as Hasbrouck went 7-for-11 for 17 points, nine of which came during a decisive 13-1 run that put the Saints ahead 63-51 with five minutes left. Hasbrouck started the run by hitting a 16-footer to break a 50-all tie.
The key series of plays came on Siena's next possession when Saints forward Edwin Ubiles missed a shot off the side of the rim, and Rossiter dived into the Siena bench, tipping the ball back in play. Hasbrouck completed the possession with an underhanded shot from 6-feet off.
Siena set a school record for single-season wins at the Division I level. The Saints also bounced back from a 100-85 loss at Niagara on Feb. 27. Siena also won the rematch of the 2007 championship game, after a 83-79 loss to Niagara.
The tournament was played in the Saints home arena, a place where they haven't lost since Feb. 16, 2008, when they dropped an 83-76 overtime decision Loyola, Md.
The game was close through 30 minutes, though the Saints never lost the lead after Ubiles completed a three-point play to put Siena ahead 20-19 with 9:23 left in the first half as part of a 18-3 run.
Benson Egemonye scored 10 points and added 10 rebounds for the Purple Eagles, who dropped to 2-4 in MAAC championship games. Niagara was attempting to earn its fourth NCAA berth and third in five years.