GAME NOTES: The San Diego Toreros and Siena Saints will conclude their participation in the 2012 NUCDF Basketball Challenge as the programs meet for the first time in history at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Siena, which will be playing for the third consecutive day, enters with a 2-2 record after a 56-52 triumph over Northern Kentucky on Saturday. The Saints held on to edge the Norse despite converting only 9-of-18 free throw attempts. Siena played tough on the defensive end to power the win as it held NKU under 40 percent shooting. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school opened up its 2012-2013 campaign with a loss to Vermont, an overtime victory over Navy on the road, and a four-point loss to Cal State-Northridge in its first taste of the NUCDF.
San Diego also enters with a 2-2 mark after it lost in its last two outings. The Toreros are coming off of a 63-51 setback to Tulsa in which they shot a miserable 34 percent from the field and were outrebounded by 13 boards. USD lost to Cal State Northridge by three points prior to its bout with Tulsa. The West Coast Conference program also finished with a sub-.500 overall record in 2011-2012.
The Saints finished below .500 last season, but that was not due to a lack of effort from their star forward O.D. Anosike. The senior from Staten Island led the nation in rebounding with 12.5 boards per game in 2011-2012 after he completed a program record streak of 17 consecutive double-doubles. Unfortunately, his personal success did not lead the program to the postseason. However he has upped his rebounding average to 13.7 per game this season to along with his team-high 15.7 ppg. Rob Poole is second on the team with 14 ppg, while Evan Hymes also carries a double-digit scoring average with 12.7 ppg despite converting just 27.5 percent of his field goal tries.
San Diego has a talented trio in Johnny Dee, Christopher Anderson, and Dennis Kramer. Dee stands just six-feet tall, which by most standards is drastically undersized for a shooting guard. However, the sophomore is leading the team in scoring after netting a total of 47 points in his last three outings. Anderson is second on the team in scoring (11.8 ppg), but his passing ability, which has generated a team-best 6.3 assists per game, is what makes him vital to USD's offensive system. Kramer is adding 11 ppg on 66.7 shooting from the floor despite playing just 20 minutes per contest.
This should be an evenly matched contest between two rebuilding mid-major programs. Siena had never won in the Golden State before in its history prior to Friday night. The Saints will need to overcome the Toreros' homecourt advantage to repeat that feat.
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