Iona Uses a Late Run to Power past the Saints
Iona defeated Siena 71-69 Thursday night in a rematch of last year’s MAAC Championship game.
Siena’s youth showed late as they were unable to close out what would have been their third win in New Rochelle in three years.
Ahsante Shivers made a free throw with 7:26 to go to give the Saints a 62-52 lead. Iona went on a 15-0 run over the next 3:45 to give the Gaels a 67-62 lead with just 3:20 remaining. Roman Penn drilled a three with 1:01 to go to make it 70-67, but the Saints were unable to connect on two potential game-tying three point attempts in the final 30 seconds, which allowed Iona to pull out the win. One free throw by Zach Lewis and a buzzer beating layup by Evan Fisher provided the final 71-69 margin.
Schadrac Casimir led all scorers with 17 points for the Gaels. Siena held Deyshonee Much, who was coming off a career high 32 points in a win over Fairfield on Sunday, to just eight points on the night. Unfortunately for the Saints, he came up with an offensive rebound put-back and a clutch three to help seal the win for the Gaels.
Siena shot 53.1% from the field, but made only 2 of their final 11 shots. Iona shot just 38.6% from the field, but the difference in the game was the Gaels’ ability to get to the free throw line. Iona made 19-of-26 free throws compared to the Saints who only shot 9-of-15 from the charity stripe.
Shivers led a balanced scoring attack for the Saints, who had seven players score at least seven points. The sophomore guard tallied 13 points. Jordan Horn scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the arc to continue his improved play of late. Thomas Huerter, Jr. finished with a career-high 9 points, all of which came in the first half. Penn and Fisher poured in 9 points apiece and grabbed 5 rebounds each. Penn also recorded 7 assists on the night. Prince Oduro contributed 8 points, while Khalil Richard added 7 points in the losing effort.
Siena announced Wednesday that the team’s captain and leading scorer, guard Nico Clareth, decided to leave the team. Clareth will finish the spring semester at Siena before transferring to another school in May.
Coach Jimmy Patsos reflected on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “We have to get better as a young team and grow up fast and how you do that is to play games in the MAAC,” Patsos said. “It was a good effort, but you have to do some basic things down the stretch. We got a young team and we’ll learn.”
With the loss, the Saints fell to 5-13 overall and 1-4 in the MAAC, while Iona improved to 10-7 on the season and 4-1 in conference.
Siena will take on the Manhattan Jaspers at 7pm on Saturday, January 13 on the road. The Jaspers enter the contest with an 8-9 overall record and 3-2 mark in league play. Manhattan is coming off a 59-53 win at Fairfield Thursday night. The Jaspers are led by Rich Williams who is averaging 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Siena swept the season series versus Manhattan last year. The Saints beat the Jaspers 81-68 on the road and 94-71 at home.