College Basketball CBI Finals Game #2: Fresno State Bulldogs at Siena Saints

2014 College Basketball Invitational Finals
Fresno State Bulldogs at Siena Saints

Siena leads Best of 3 series 1-0
Times-Union Center – Albany, New York
Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS Sports Network
Opening Line: Siena -1 1/2
Current Line: Siena -1
Opening Total: 134
Current Total: 134 1/2
Opening Money Line: Siena -115 / Fresno State -105
Current Money Line: Siena -115 / Fresno State -105

The Siena Saints can win the CBI Finals Wednesday night with a home win over Fresno State.

The Siena Saints can win the CBI Finals Wednesday night with a home win over Fresno State.

The 19-17 Siena Saints won game #1 of the 2014 CBI Tournament Monday night in Fresno against the 20-17 Fresno State Bulldogs 71-67. Siena took a 1-0 lead in the best of 3 series. The two teams meet again Wednesday night for game #2, this time in Albany. If necessary, the deciding game #3 will also be in Albany Saturday afternoon.

Monday’s game #1 was the first ever meeting between the schools. Fresno State took a 12 point lead in the second half. However, the Bulldogs did not score a field goal for the last 6:59 of the game. Siena came back to win by 4 points. The Saints grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and forced 16 Bulldog turnovers. In the last six CBI Finals, the winner of game #1 has gone on to win the tournament.

Fresno State went 9-9 in the Mountain West and were part of a three way tie for fifth. The Bulldogs lost to New Mexico 93-77 in the Mountain West Quarterfinals. The Bulldogs are also playing in the CBI for the first time, and in the post season for the first time since the 2007 NIT. Fresno State won at UTEP 61-56 in the first round, then beat Princeton 72-56 in Fresno in the quarters, and Old Dominion 71-64 at home in the semifinals.

Siena was 11-9 in the MAAC and finished fifth. The Saints lost to Canisius 71-65 in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals. It was their only loss in the last 9 games. Siena  gained a bid to the CBI for the first time this season, and in the post season for the first time since the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Saints beat Stony Brook 66-55 in the first round, Penn State 54-52 in the quarterfinals, and Illinois State 61-49 in the  semifinals Wednesday night. All three games were at home.

Fresno State is coached by Rodney Terry. The Bulldogs have losses at Pittsburgh, at Pacific, Drake, at Utah, at California, Florida in Miami, UNLV twice, at Boise State, at Colorado State, San Diego State twice, New Mexico twice, Nevada, and at Wyoming. Fresno has key wins at UC-Irvine, CS-Northridge, Cal Poly, Air Force 3 times, Wyoming, San Jose State twice, at Nevada, Colorado State, at Utah State, and Boise State. The Bulldogs are 19-15-1 ATS this season and the total is 17-16 this season.

Fresno State is outscoring teams 73-70 this season. The Bulldogs are shooting 43.8% from the field and 35.6% from 3 point range. Fresno makes 72.9% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 43% from the field and 31% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs are #33 nationally in 3 point defense. Fresno State averages 34.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 34 per game. The Bulldogs are #313 out of 351 teams in rebounds allowed. FSU averages 12.1 assists, 9.8 rebounds, 6.5 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.1 assists, 11.4 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.

Guard Tyler Johnson averages 15.8 assists, 7.4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Marvelle Harris averages 14.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Cezar Guerrero averages 12.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Guard/forward Paul Watson averages 10.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Guard Allen Huddleston averages 8.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Alex Davis, Karachi Edo, Tanner Giddings, and Emmanuel Owootoah will also get minutes in the rotation. Forward Braeden Anderson has missed the entire season with a spine injury.

Siena is coached by Jimmy Patsos. The Saints have losses to Albany, at Vermont, Purdue twice, Memphis, and St. Joseph’s (all in a tournament in Orlando), Canisius three times, at Monmouth, Iona twice, at Manhattan, Quinnipiac, at St. Peter’s, and at Marist. Siena started off the season 3-8. The Saints have key wins over St. Bonaventure, at Cornell, Hofstra, Fordham, Manhattan, and at Quinnipiac. Siena is 20-14 ATS this season and the total is 8-25-1 this season.

Siena is being outscored 69.9-69.1 this season. The Saints are shooting 42% from the field and 32.8% from 3 point range. Siena makes 71.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.2% from the field and 31.7% from 3 point range. Siena averages 37.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.9 per game. The Saints are #41 nationally in rebounding. Siena averages 13.7 assists, 14 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.7 assists, 12.6 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 5.2 blocks per game.

Guard Rob Poole averages 14.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1 steal per game. He is probable with a knee injury. Forward Brett Bisping averages 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Guard/forward Lavon Long averages 9.4 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. Guard Evan Hymes averages 9.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. Guard Marquis Wright averages 8.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He is probable with a rib injury. Maurice White, Ryan Oliver, Imoh Silas, and Javion Ogunyemi will also get significant minutes. Guard Rich Audu is out for the season with a knee injury.

Fresno State is 7-1 ATS against teams with winning home records, 12-5 overall, 35-15-2 after a straight-up loss, 14-6 after failing to cover, 34-16-2 in road games, 38-18 in Wednesday games, and 0-4 in road games after 3 or more consecutive home games.

Siena is 7-0 ATS in non-conference games, 5-0 at home, 4-0 overall, 7-1 after a straight up win, 6-1 after a cover, 5-1 against teams with winning records, 9-3 in Wednesday games, and 9-4 ATS against teams with losing road records.

Siena used a stifling defense and their advantage on the boards to come back Monday in Fresno. I think the Bulldogs will play better, but the Saints close out the series tonight.

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