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Siena forward Lionel Gomis leaves program for family reasons

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Expected to contend in the MAAC this season, the first two months of the 2012-13 campaign have not gone according to plan for the Siena Saints.

With the return of Rakeem Brookins and forwards Lionel Gomis and Imoh Silas eligible, players such as O.D. Anosike and Evan Hymes were thought to have the help needed to be one of the teams in the race to grab the league’s automatic bid.

But at 2-9 and 0-2 in conference play the Saints have looked like anything but a contender. Siena will look to improve its standing without Gomis, as the school announced that the sophomore is leaving the program for family reasons.

“We’re sorry to see Lionel go, but respect his decision,” Buonaguro said in the statement released by the school.

This latest turn in Gomis’ career at Siena is also the last one, as it began with the NCAA ruling both he and Gomis ineligible for the 2011-12 season. Siena successfully petitioned the NCAA, which originally declared Gomis to be a senior, resulting in the Dakar, Senegal native having three seasons of eligibility.

The 6-8 Gomis played in just one game for Siena, playing two minutes in the Saints’ season-opening 54-53 loss to Vermont and tallying just one turnover.

But regardless of Gomis’ decision the fact remains that there are many issues plaguing the Saints, and it remains to be seen if Buonaguro and his staff are capable of making the proper adjustments. Siena’s averaging 56.9 points per game and shooting 38.2% from the field, with both numbers ranking last in the MAAC.

Brookins (13.2 ppg) and Anosike (13.0 ppg, 13.0 rpg) lead four players in double figures, but the issue has been the caliber of shot that Siena is taking (9th in the MAAC in efficiency per statsheet.com). Until that improves the Saints are going to struggle, and whether or not Gomis decided to remain in the program that was going to be the case.

Photo credit: Siena College

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Some conference matchups play out before football

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.

2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.

3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.

4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.

5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.