Siena 26 35 61
Fresnost 32 25 57
Date of game: 3/31/2014

Siena (18-17) at Fresno State (20-16)

GAME NOTES: The 2014 College Basketball Invitational is down to two teams, as the Siena Saints and Fresno State Bulldogs begin championship series play on Monday, at the Save Mart Center.

Game 2 will move to the Times Union Center in Albany on Wednesday and Game 3, if needed on Saturday, will also be in Albany.

For just the second time ever and the first since 1983, Fresno State has reached the championship round of a postseason event. Rodney Terry is building a strong program with the Bulldogs, who at 20-16, are sporting their first winning season in seven years. Terry's squad finished an even 9-9 in Mountain West Conference play, but has successfully navigated this tournament field with wins over UTEP (61-56), Princeton (72-56) and finally Old Dominion (71-64).

Jimmy Patsos' Saints have also had a strong campaign, as their run in the tournament has pushed the team over the .500 mark at 18-17 overall. The 18 wins mark a 10-win improvement over last season. Siena finished 11-9 in the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference this season entering this contest with wins in seven of their last eight games. The Saints moved into the championship round of a postseason event for the first time since joining the Division I ranks (1976-77 season), with wins over Stony Brook (66-55), Penn State (54-52) and Illinois State (61-49).

This marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.

The Saints jumped all over the Redbirds early on, scoring the first nine points of the game and never looking back, forging their way into the championship round with a 12-point victory at home last week. Brett Bisping continued his strong postseason run with a second straight double-double, posting 20 points and 13 rebounds in the victory. Three other Saints joined Bisping in double-digit scoring, with Rob Poole posting 14 points, followed by Ryan Oliver and Evan Hymes with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Siena shot a modest 40.8 percent from the floor but took advantage of a poor effort from ISU, which delivered on a mere 30 percent on the night.

Strong defensive play and timely scoring has been the recipe for success for the Saints this season. The team comes in averaging a mere 69.1 ppg, but remains competitive by limiting foes to just 69.9 ppg on a meager .412 accuracy from the floor. The team has also enjoyed positives in both rebounding (+2.6) and turnover (+1.4) margins. Poole headlines the play at the offensive end with 14.7 ppg. Bisping has emerged as a frontcourt performer in his sophomore season, as the 6-foot-8 youngster is averaging 11.1 ppg on .515 shooting, while adding a team-best 6.7 rpg to the mix. Lavon Long (9.4 ppg), Hymes (9.1 ppg) and Marquis Wright (8.5 ppg) add some scoring depth. Wright serves as the team's top facilitator, doling out 5.4 apg (led the MAAC this season).

Fresno State held a four-point lead at the break (35-31) and went on to shoot a scorching 57.1 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes to dismiss the Monarchs and move into the championship round. The Bulldogs were just 4- of-12 from behind the arc in the game, but outscored Old Dominion 27-8 at the free-throw line, while forcing ODU into 15 costly turnovers. Four of the team's five starters finished in double figures in the win, led by sophomore Marvelle Harris' 20 points. Freshman Paul Watson poured in 15 points, followed closely by sophomore Cezar Guerrero (14 pts) and senior Tyler Johnson (13 pts).

The Bulldogs are averaging 72.9 ppg and have certainly benefited from a strong showing at the charity stripe this season (.729 - 16.1 made free throws per game). The 6-4 Johnson has evolved into a complete player in his senior campaign, averaging team-highs with 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, while ranking third on the team in assists (2.8 apg). Scoring depth is apparent on the roster, with three others boasting of double-digit averages. Harris is a close second on the team at 14.6 ppg, followed by Guerrero and Watson at 12.9 and 10.2 ppg, respectively.

The Bulldogs have gone 13-5 at home this season, the most wins at home in Terry's three seasons at the helm. The Saints on the other hand, are just 5-13 outside of Albany. Fresno State gets the nod in this one at home.

GAME NOTES: The 2014 College Basketball Invitational is down to two teams, as the Siena Saints and Fresno State Bulldogs begin championship series play on Monday, at the Save Mart Center.

Fact Stats

FACTS & STATS: Site: Save Mart Center (15,596) -- Fresno, California. Television: CBSSN. CBI Record: Siena 3-0, Fresno State 3-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

Game Date and Time

Monday, March 31, 10 p.m. (ET)

Predicted Outcome

Fresno State 71, Siena 64

Illinois State rallies into FCS title game

If ever there was doubt about the Missouri Valley Football Conference being the top conference in the FCS, Illinois State provided a reminder on Saturday.

Cowboys' Murray active against Colts

Dallas Cowboys running back and the NFL's leading rusher DeMarco Murray is active for today's game against the Indianapolis Colts, although his playing time may be limited due to a broken hand.

Giants acquire McGehee from Marlins

The San Francisco Giants have acquired infielder Casey McGehee from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league pitchers Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo.

Vancouver's Hansen collapses on bench

Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen collapsed on the bench during the second period of Saturday's game against the Calgary Flames and had to be helped to the locker room.

Featured Partners
The newly modeled East Ridge Residence is a must see with its spacious comfortable apartments. Plus, 3 delicious meals daily, geriatric physician, home healthcare services and fun festive activities. Schedule your visit today!
Together we can make a confident retirement possible. Simply click to get started with your private wealth advisor. Talk to Jimmy Scotchie, Certified Financial Planner.
Get started at $79.99 a month for 12 months. Plus, get a $75 VISA® Prepaid card.
Supermarket Guru
From The Archives
Scenic City Roots
Through Irish Eyes
Brand News
Prime Mashup
What's Trending
Megan Wise Goes Outside
Stay Connected with WDEF News 12
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.