Siena Edged by Monmouth
The Siena Saints suffered a 67-56 defeat at the hands of the Monmouth Hawks on the road Thursday night.
Siena got out to an early 18-7 lead, but Monmouth used an 11-0 run to tie the game at 18 with 7:06 left in the first half. The teams battled back-and-forth throughout the remainder of the opening stanza and the Saints took a 30-29 lead into the break.
Diago Quinn made a jumper on the Hawks’ opening possession of the second half to give the hosts a 31-30 lead—one they would not relinquish the rest of the way. A 9-0 Monmouth run, capped by a layup by Austin Tilghman, gave the Hawks their largest lead, 58-45, with 4:53 to go in the game. Monmouth connected on 17-of-19 free throws in the second half to mitigate any potential comeback for the Saints.
The Hawks shot 43.5% from the field, led by Tilghman who scored 20 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 3 assists.
Siena shot just 32.7% from the field. The Saints, the second best 3-point shooting team in MAAC play (40.1%), connected on just 8-of-24 of their attempts from distance. The visitors dominated the offensive glass, scoring 17 points on 17 offensive rebounds, but it was not enough to come away with a victory.
Siena was led by Ahsante Shivers who scored 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting, including a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Jordan Horn and Evan Fisher scored 10 points apiece in the losing effort. Freshman point guard Roman Penn chipped in with 7 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
The Saints were without sophomore guard Khalil Richard who was sidelined with a hand injury.
With the loss, Siena fell to 6-16 overall, 2-7 in the MAAC, while Monmouth improved to 6-13 on the season and 2-5 in conference play.
Jimmy Patsos commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “They [Monmouth] made their free throws and we had a couple crucial situations where we missed some free throws,” Patsos said. “Second half, I thought we were a little flat emotionally. We came back and we had to make a couple stops and we couldn’t.”
Siena is now 2-5 since Nico Clareth left the program and the young Saints are clearly looking for someone to fill the void left by their leading scorer. At different times over the last seven games, Siena has shown some positive signs, but the effort against Monmouth was a step back. Some of the lineups were questionable at best—playing Manny Camper and Christian Bentley at the same time while the game was still within reach. The freshman need stability and continuity in order to develop and find their roles on the team. The erratic substitution patterns deter that from happening.
The Saints return to the Times Union Center on Monday, January 29 to take on the St. Peter’s Peacocks. Tip-off is set for 7pm. St. Peter’s is 8-11 overall, 2-6 in the MAAC. The Peacocks play at second place Rider (14-7, 7-2 MAAC) on Friday before traveling to Albany to take on Siena. Most recently, St. Peter’s lost to Manhattan by a score of 68-57. The Peacocks are led by Nick Griffin who is averaging 14.3 points per game. Last year, the two teams split the season series. Siena defeated St. Peter’s 56-54 in Albany, while the Peacocks picked up a 77-65 win in Jersey City.