The Siena Saints made headlines back in 2013-14 when they went on a tear in the post-season, taking home the CBI title in the process.
After they knocked off the Fresno State Bulldogs for the title, fans quickly turned their attention to the 2014-15 season, wondering what the team would do for an encore.
Injuries to key players derailed the plans for the Saints early in the season, and they were never able to live up to the preseason hype.
Fast forward to the 2015-16 season, and the Saints are healthy and playing some strong basketball. It may be a year later than planned, but the Saints are now a front-runner in the MAAC title race, and look to be on their way to another post-season appearance.
One of the keys to their resurgence this season has been the return of forward Brett Bisping. After missing most of last season due to injury, Bisping is healthy this season and has been the leader of the Saints.
After a big week for the junior forward, which included a pair of double-double performances in two wins for Siena, the Saints’ Brett Bisping is the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week for January 25-31!
Bisping is a 6’8”, 238-pound forward from Peoria, IL who is in his junior season with the Saints. After bursting onto the scene as a freshman (11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg), many thought that his injury last season would hinder his abilities this season.
Through the first 22 games of the season, there haven’t been many ill effects. There have been a few games where he hasn’t had his best stuff, but that happens to any player in the NCAA.
He has recorded 7 double-doubles on the season, including a 16-point, 18-rebound performance in an 81-80 loss to the Cornell Big Red back on December 1st. For the season, Bisping is averaging 15.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.2% from the floor.
He has put together a strong season to date, but in the past two weeks, he has taken his game to another level.
Bisping ended last week with a 27 point, 11 rebound performance against the Canisius Golden Griffins on Sunday, and wasted little time picking up where he left off.
The Saints played two games this week, on the road against the Niagara Purple Eagles, and at home against the Marist Red Foxes. Here are Bisping’s stat lines for each game:
@ Niagara (WIN, 82-70):
20 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 42.9% FG (6-of-14)
vs. Marist (WIN, 77-66):
27 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists, 71.4% FG (10-of-14)
Both games ended in wins for the Saints, who now have won four straight contests overall. Across the two games, Bisping averaged 23.5 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 assists per game while shooting a combined 16-of-28 (57.1%) from the floor.
Not bad for a week’s work.
Bisping has shaken off the rust from missing last season, and has helped to lead the Saints back into contention in the MAAC. As of Sunday night, Siena is 15-7 overall on the year, and 8-3 in conference play, trailing the Monmouth Hawks by a single game for the conference lead.
With his size, Bisping can be an impact player in the paint, as evident by his 15 rebounds per game average this past week. He has nice touch around the rim, and he is tough to move away from the basket.
He also has the shooting ability to stretch the floor and shoot the long ball. That opens things up for the other forwards on the Saints to do their thing inside, and also creates match-up problems for opponents.
After a strong week that saw the Saints push their winning streak to 4 with a pair of quality conference wins, junior forward Brett Bisping is this week’s winner of the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week award!
Jan. 18 – 24: Quinton Chievous – Hampton Pirates
Jan. 11 – 17: Shawn Long – Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Jan. 4 – 10: Tyrell Nelson – Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs
Dec. 28 – Jan. 3: Tanner Plomb – Army West Point Black Knights