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Midwest Region

Siena leaves no doubt against Vanderbilt

TAMPA — With one minute remaining in Siena's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002, junior forward Josh Duell exited the floor and began slapping hands with teammates on the bench.

"We ain't done yet," Duell said. "We ain't done yet."

On a day when lower seeds excelled at the St. Pete Times Forum, Midwest No.  13 seed Siena jumped on the upset bandwagon, knocking off No.  4 Vanderbilt 83-62 Friday night.

"I really don't consider it an upset because I have confidence in my team," said Tay Fisher, Siena's only senior, who scored 19 and was 6-of-6 from 3-point range. "I knew that we could hang with anybody in the country."

You can bet Vanderbilt considers it that way. Siena shot 56 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range against a defense that had been its own worst enemy down the stretch this season.

"Our defense just wasn't up to par today," said Shan Foster, the SEC player of the year who was held to 1-of-5 shooting beyond the arc. "Any time you don't play well on defense in the NCAA Tournament, you get beat."

Metro Atlantic champ Siena (23-10) led by as many as 16 in the first half, after jumping on Vanderbilt (26-8) from the opening tip. The Commodores seemed out of synch early in the game, stymied by Siena's quickness and its ability to drive to the basket.

"I thought one of the most critical things that was going to happen for us to win was how we came out at the start of the game," Siena coach Fran McCaffery said. "And I thought we jumped on them a little bit. We got a lead, and I thought that was very important."

It was. Vanderbilt never led or tied the score.

Despite a distinct height advantage — the Commodores had 6-foot-11 freshman center A.J. Ogilvy and 6-9 senior forward Ross Neltner — Siena outrebounded Vandy on the defensive end 24-17 and the Commodores had just two more total rebounds. Though the Saints had 17 turnovers to 16 assists, they capitalized more on Vandy's mistakes, turning 16 turnovers into 29 points.

Most important, they kept Foster and senior guard Alex Gordon in check: They were a combined 8-of-22 for 19 points (13 for Foster). Vanderbilt shot 4-of-20 from 3-point range.

Vandy had several runs to cut into the lead and got as close as 50-43 with 13:21 left. It was never enough.

"Every time they scored or went on a mini-run, I just tried to get a good basket or create a play for somebody," said Siena junior guard Kenny Hasbrouck, who scored a game-high 30.

Thursday, Vanderbilt players spoke of being insulted that so many analysts had picked them as a team likely to be upset. Friday night, they were stunned the predictions came true.

"We weren't a very good team," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "Unfortunately for us, that's a lot of what we'll remember and that makes it a bitter pill to swallow."

Antonya English can be reached at

English@sptimes.com.

No. 13 Siena 83

No. 4 Vanderbilt 62

Siena leaves no doubt against Vanderbilt 03/21/08 [Last modified: Sunday, March 23, 2008 10:20pm]
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