Platek hits 18, has Siena in thick of MAAC race; Francis’ team keeps rolling; Walton’s team pulls two upsets

By R.L. Bynum

With five games left in the regular season, Siena is in a battle for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title, thanks to another big performance Sunday from Andrew Platek.

Platek scored 18 points and four 3-pointers, with four rebounds and three assists, as the Saints earned a 73–65 home victory over Marist. It was Platek’s sixth game this season with at least 18 points and seventh with three or more assists. Platek was +19 in 29 minutes.

Siena (17–9, 11–4 MAAC), is a half-game back of Rider and Iona, who are tied for first place at 11–3, but Platek says it’s time for his team to make a big push.

“We only have a few games left, you know,” Platek told the Albany Times-Union. “It’s the end of the season and it’s time to win and it’s getting to that time where you either win or go home and I think we’ve got to start treating our games like that.

“Guys have got to get on board and get with it,” said Platek, who scored five points in Friday’s 72–75 win at Mount St. Mary’s. “But we’re going to bring everybody along. I think we had some uncharacteristic mistakes at the end of the game and we were bailed out by some big shots and big plays by Javian [McCollum].”

Platek’s next two games will air on ESPNU: 9 p.m. Friday at home against Quinnipiac and 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at Rider.

Jeremiah Francis scored 14 points and two 3-pointers while contributing seven rebounds and six assists Sunday as Emmanuel College rolled over Francis Marion 92–74 for the Lions’ 10th consecutive victory.

Emmanuel (17–7, 13–3), a Division II school in Franklin Springs, Ga., is 2½ games behind first-place UNC Pembroke in the Conference Carolinas standings.

Texas Tech was 10–10 before Kerwin Walton became a starter and the Red Raiders are now 4–2 since then, including Saturday’s 71–63 upset at No. 12 Kansas State and Monday’s big 74–67 home upset of No. 6 Texas.

The Red Raiders (14–12, 3–10 Big 12) are 11–4 at home and have escaped the Big 12 cellar, where Oklahoma now resides.

Walton hasn’t put up big numbers of late, combining for five points in the last three games, but two were wins. He scored two (both from the free-throw line) against Kansas State in 16 minutes, and was scoreless and missed both shots in the win over the Longhorns in 15 minutes.

Dawson Garcia, Minnesota’s leading scorer, has missed the last five Gophers games with a bone bruise in an ankle. Minnesota (7–16, 1–12 Big Ten) has lost all five of those games, the last being a 68–56 Sunday home loss to Iowa, and has dropped its last eight.

Checking in on 4 former Heels

Jeremiah Francis, Emmanuel College guard

6–1, 190 pounds | Junior | UNC 2019–20 (1 season)

92–74 Sunday win at Francis Marion — Started; 14 points, 5–7 FG, 2–4 3FG, 2–2 FT, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover
Season statistics — 22 games, 22 starts, 8.5 points, 39.4% FG, 30.9 3FG%, 77.5 FT%, 2.9 rebounds; totals of 59 assists, 21 steals and 1 block
Up next — 7 p.m. Wednesday at North Greenville; 7 p.m. Thursday at Mount Olive

Dawson Garcia, Minnesota forward

6–11, 230 pounds | Sophomore | UNC 2020–21 (part of 1 season)

68–56 Sunday loss vs. Iowa — Missed fifth consecutive game with a bone bruise in an ankle
Season statistics — 18 games, 18 starts, 14.9 points, 44.7 FG%, 32.3 3FG%, 71.6 FT%, 6.3 rebounds; totals of 33 assists, 10 steals, 11 blocks
Up next — (Scheduled Wednesday game at Michigan State postponed) 9 p.m. Saturday vs. Penn State, Big Ten Network; 9 p.m. Monday at Illinois, Big Ten Network

Andrew Platek, Siena guard

6–4, 208 pounds | Graduate student | UNC 2017–21 (4 seasons)

72–65 Friday win at Mount St. Mary’s — Started; 19 minutes, 5 points, 2–5 FG, 1–3 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 foul, 1 turnover, 1 steal
73–65 Sunday win vs. Marist — Started; 29 minutes, 18 points, 6–11 FG, 4–6 3FG, 2–2 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 fouls, 3 assists, 1 turnover
Season statistics — 26 games, 25 starts, 11.4 points, 48.0 FG%, 46.9 3FG%, 61.5 FT%, 2.6 rebounds; totals of 40 assists, 24 steals, 5 blocks
Up next — 9 p.m. Friday vs. Quinnipiac, ESPNU; 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at Rider, ESPNU

Kerwin Walton, Texas Tech guard

65, 200 pounds | Junior | UNC 2020–22 (2 seasons)

71–68 Wednesday, Feb. 8, loss at Oklahoma State — Started; 22 minutes, 3 points, 1–5 FG, 1–3 3FG, 1 rebound, 3 fouls, 1 assist, 1 steal
71–63 Saturday win at No. 12 Kansas State — Started; 16 minutes, 2 points, 0–3 FG, 0–3 3FG, 2–2 FT, 3 fouls
74–67 Monday win at No. 6 Texas — Started; 15 minutes, 0 points, 0–2 FG, 0–1 3FG, 1 rebound, 1 foul, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 steal
Season statistics — 24 games, 6 starts, 4.1 points, 45.3 FG%, 41.1 3P%, 87.5 FT%, 1.0 rebound; season totals of 12 assists, 5 steals, 5 blocks
Up next — Noon Saturday at West Virginia, ESPNU; 9 p.m. Tuesday at Oklahoma, ESPN2

Photo via @SienaMBB


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