Game 036: Canisius 84, at Siena 80 (OT)Monday, January 17, 2005
Pepsi Arena - Albany, NY
This is the second part of The Mid-Majority's GameLogg™ coverage of the annual Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference M.L.K. Day doubleheader. The first installment can be found here.
Our second game features the homestanding Siena
Saint (Bernard)s versus Canisius
. Siena has been a heretofore unseen mystery, going 3-12 despite senior leadership from a hero of past NCAA runs: southpaw small forward Michael Haddix. Canisius has already been encountered twice by the 100GP, most recently against Loyola (Md.)
last Friday. Your narrator wondered at the time
if the Golden Griffins are, in fact, holograms - their invisible style of play has defied analysis.PregameT-minus-8:35
- The crowd has arrived, and it's about four thousand strong - this is a city of public offices and the streets were empty for most of the day, so these are people who just wanted to go out of their way to avoid spending two hours with Loyola and Rider
. It's the 36th game of The Project - bafflingly, it's the first game that features a coupon-dropping blimp. One of the saddest things in sports is the sight of hundreds of teeming, frenzied humans clutching and grabbing each other over a slip of paper, especially when it's only good for fifty cents off a haircut at a strip mall.T-minus-4:14
- If you are in a rock band and you're trying to find that break that will allow you to stop playing to disinterested drunkards in bars with sticky floors, I have an idea for you. Find the closest mid-sized college in your area, write and record a song about their basketball team, and sell it to them. The P.A. system is playing a slick soft-rock inanity over and over, and it goes like this:We love our Saints.
We love our Saints.
Anytime they ask us who we lo-ove,
We love our Saints.
- I've moved to a seat in a side section - it's right around the same place where I sat for the MAAC Tournament last year. Why I've done this, I'm not sure. Nostalgia? Actually, it probably had something to do with the fact that my previous section was being overrun by overly talkative Siena fans who were trying to rationalize the salvagability of the season, even after their 27-point pasting here against Penn
last week. It's not nice to eavesdrop on others' group therapy sessions, so I left them alone.First Half17:06
- Siena's white home jerseys don't have names on the back anymore. It's harder to tell who's who, but anyone who didn't buy a program can rest assured that the Saints are learning a valuable lesson about Team First. Canisius' dark blue shirts do have names on the back. I called them "The Team That Wasn't There" last time, so I'm going to pay super-extra-careful attention to them this game.13:41
- It's 3-3 going into media timeout number one, and this game is trying to figure out what it wants to be. One of the most annoying trends of recent years is the emcee who gets on the P.A. system, hosts the in-stands trivia and on-court shooting contests, and tells you which page to turn to in your program to see if you've won a five-dollar gift certificate from the local upscale eatery. Siena has hired "Big Ray," the self-proclaimed "Brotha From Anotha'". Big Ray is Al Roker before the weight loss, and twice as cheery. Saints fans, lemme hear you make some noooooooooooise!11:45
- Siena's cheer team comes out. They're wearing the same uniforms as they were when I moved East seven years ago, and using last year's routines. Britney Spears' "Toxic" sounds a lot different on a worn out cassette tape, or maybe it's just a 96bps MP3 of the song. Am I being too negative here? I should mention that Siena has the cutest cheerleaders in the MAAC, without question or relevant debate. Remind me to tell you sometime about some of the, um, larger, cheer squads in this conference.7:25
- Antoine Jordan, number 30 white, hits a trey for the Saints and it's 14 all. I'm starting to pick up on why Siena is so god-awful this year. Anytime the ball goes down low, they start hyperventilating, shaking and fumbling. And on defense, they play a zone but don't have the speed to keep up with the ball - even invisible opposition is able to puncture and penetrate at will. Siena's band drops its first tune - and it's an uninspired choice to end all uninspired choices: "Born To Be Wild." Settle in, it's gonna be a long night.1:37
- Not much to report. It's a 25-24 Siena lead right now. Jordan is leading the charge with eight points - he looks like he's finding a nice scoring rhythm and is getting the feel for where the defensive holes are. Haddix has been a non-factor, and is sitting on the bench with two early fouls.0:00
- Halftime score is 28-27, Siena. Tay Fisher, the Saints' little Rasta freshman guard, hit two high-arcing three-pointers to close the half and stop a Canisius mini-run.
Special halftime treat: the story of Siena's biggest fan ever. The 2003 MAAC Tournament was held in Trenton, New Jersey, and the Saints put on a nice run out of a low seed to reach the title game - that's where they met up with a high-speed train called Manhattan
. At each game, there was a pudgy bespectacled guy in an upper section, sitting all alone but making a big ruckus every time Siena did something good. He wore a green and yellow shirt upon which was hand-written, "Jam Man." Near that section's stairwell was stationed an equally pudgy, bespectacled female security officer with a massive double chin. Every so often, their eyes would meet, but they went about their respective jobs.
When I ventured out on the road for a Siena home game the following year, I fully expected to see Jam Man there - I had figured he was an Albany institution. But there was no Jam Man to be found. There was only one acceptable reason - Jam Man and Chinwoman had broken through their shyness, and were off celebrating their endless love. It was certainly preferable to the alternate explanation - that Jam Man committed suicide when he found out that his intended was a local girl who went to Rider
Any Siena fans who are reading this are welcomed - no, implored - to write in and contribute the true conclusion to The Saga Of Jam Man.Second Half20:00
- On a bad P.A. system, it sounds like the Black Eyed Peas' Fergie is saying "Anne Boleyn, Boleyn" over and over during "Let's Get
It Started". She isn't. This is a really bad P.A. system.15:27
- The Fifth Five Minutes are played pretty much even; it's 37-35 Canisius, and the 13-10 margin during the F5M would indicate a close win for the Griffs. There's an interminable wait for free throws coming out of the media timeout, and the arena is stone-silent. A voice cries out: "Go ahead! Nobody's watching this!"11:44
- Canisius pulls ahead 50-43 going into the second MTO of the half, and there's a little white guy wearing number 3 who has 15 points. Slow Siena has switched to a man-to-man, and it looks brutal - the Griffins are maneuvering around them as if the Saints were driving-test pylons, and are threatening to break the game open. This Saints team is really in rough shape. Siena's cheerleaders are back out on the floor - this is the first time I've heard MC Hammer's "2 Legit 2 Quit" in over a decade.9:33
- There's a Michael Haddix sighting - he's sprung free on a backdoor cut, and the Saints have cut what had been a widening margin to nine at 56-45. Haddix looks very earthbound. It could be because of that humongous brace on his left leg. I'll have to look into that. I mean the information as to why he's wearing it, not the brace itself. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Haddix's privacy.3:14
- Siena claws back to 67-62, and it's thanks to their outside shooting. Fisher was cut off at the knees on a trey attempt and sunk all three shots.3:07
- It's Tay Fisher's world, and the 4,778 of us who paid to see him play are just living in it. Off a turnover, he hits another three-pointer and it's 67-65. Fisher has 15 points now.1:02
- Canisius fumbles into a 35-second clock violation, and it's 67-66. The Siena band, whose playlist is about as fascinating as that of the Lite FM, celebrates by breaking out the "Peter Gunn Theme."0:20
- Saints Freshman Jack McClinton hits a three, and Siena leads by two. Time out, Canisius. Play number eight for "We Love Our Saints." Let's make some noooooooooise!0:05
- A Canisius player lays it up and in with time running out, and it's tied up. For the second time in a week, the 100 Games Project is going into overtime!Overtime1:34
- Canisius pulls ahead, 77-74, on a three-pointer. On a Canisius free throw, some kids in the section behind the basket stand up and start waving their arms. A beefy security man, wearing a sweater-vest bearing the Siena logo, brusquely orders them to sit down and behave. Um, dude? When your team is 3-12, you need all the "intangibles" you can get.0:32
- It's 81-76; the three-point lead held up long enough to force Siena into foul mode. They got it as close as two for a moment, but the Griffins made enough free throws to keep them at bay. I realize now that I haven't said anything substantial about Canisius here, and I have more to say about them other than that The Official Wife Of The Mid-Majority™ always mispronounces the name. One guy had like 25 points or something, but I was too busy figuring out why Siena was so bad to take proper heed.
Please understand that I have nothing against Canisius College, its faculty, staff, students, or sports teams. In fact, this very seat I sit in happened to be smack-dab in the middle of the Canisius section during the first round of the 2004 MAAC Championships. There was a very nice fresh-faced cheerleader with Asian features who gave me a "Go Griffs" placard during their 8-vs.-9 game against Iona
, and I was so much of a good sport that I even held it up a couple of times.
So this is my ironclad guarantee to you - before The Project is complete, I will see another Canisius game. I will try even harder to say something about this team, their players, and the long and winding road that is the Canisius basketball legacy. This I promise you.0:00
- Final result is in, and it's 84-80. Four-and-a-half hours of hot MAAC hoop action is now at an end. Drive home safely, take it easy, and don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.Photo Gallery (Games 035/036)