Siena beats Fresno State 81-68 to win CBI title
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (AP) Tournament MVP Brett Bisping had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Siena cruised past Fresno State 81-68 in the decisive Game 3 of the College Basketball Invitational championship series Saturday.
Rob Poole added 23 points. Siena (20-18) capped its longest season, which began Nov. 8, with its first national postseason title since jumping to Division I in 1976.
Picked 10th of 11 in the preseason Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference coaches' poll, Siena got a rowdy crowd of 2,788 fired up early and never trailed. Siena's student section was lured by the promise free bacon before the brunch-time tip.
Fresno State hit just three of its first 17 shots and went more than nine minutes without a field goal in the first half. Tyler Johnson had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (21-18), who were 4 of 22 from the field in the first half and trailed 39-22 at the break.
Siena built a 22-point lead five minutes into the second half.
Fresno State got 17 points from Cezar Guerrero but shot a season-low 30 percent and was outrebounded 46-34.
With Siena's regular downtown arena already booked, the CBI marked Siena's first games in its cozy campus gym since the 1996-97 season. That didn't mean much in Game 2, when Fresno State shot 64 percent from floor - including 16 of 21 in the first half - and breezed to an 89-75 win.
Siena could have ended at 15-17 after it lost in the MAAC tourney. But the Saints rattled off wins against Stony Brook, Penn State and Illinois State to set up the title series with Fresno State and finished the season winning nine of 11.