Siena Downs Iona in Overtime
It was an all too familiar scene for Siena fans at the Times Union Center Monday night, but the ending was different. The Saints defeated Iona 82-78. The win was the first win over the Gaels in the Times Union Center since 2012 (0-8 since).
It was a back-and-forth game throughout. Siena opened up a 24-20 lead with 7:54 left in the first half on a three pointer from Evan Fisher. Iona took a 36-33 lead into the break on a jumper from E.J. Crawford with 1 second remaining in the opening stanza.
The Gaels took a six point lead on a three point basket by Crawford with 9:35 to go in the second half. Siena battled back and took a 64-63 lead on a jumper by Khalil Richard with 3:26 on the clock. A free throw by Schadrac Casimir tied the game and a layup by Rickey McGill gave Iona a 66-64 advantage with 1:26 remaining in regulation. Jordan Horn connected on a jumper with 27 tics left to tie the game a 66. The Saints got a stop on the final possession of the second half to send the game to overtime.
Fisher lit it up in the overtime period. The junior forward tallied 10 points in the extra session, including two free throws with 12.4 seconds to go to give Siena an 81-78 lead. A late free throw by Kadeem Smithen iced it for the Saints.
Siena shot 48.4% from the field, including 36.8% from behind the arc, while Iona shot 42.9% from the field and 31.6% from three-point land. The Saints outrebounded the Gaels 40-34 and assisted on 17 of their 31 made baskets.
The Gaels were without their third leading scorer Deyshonee Much who was averaging 11.9 points and 4.2 rebounds this season. Much did not make the trip to Albany after not venturing with the team to Jersey City in their win over St. Peter’s on Saturday. Much was reportedly restrained by Iona Coach Tim Cluess after he was frustrated by the Gaels’ blowout loss to Monmouth on Thursday.
Iona was led by Roland Griffin who scored 21 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in the losing effort.
Siena was led by Richard who scored a career-high 22 points, on 9-of-19 shooting, corralled 5 rebounds, and dished out four assists. Fisher finished with 21 points, including three made treys, and 9 rebounds. Horn tallied 18 points, on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-11 from deep, and pulled down 5 rebounds. Prince Oduro added 12 points and 6 rebounds. Smithen stuffed the stat sheet with 5 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Jimmy Patsos commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “Gutty effort,” Patsos said. “Proud of the players, proud of the team, but I’ve been proud of them all year. We’re learning on the fly. We practiced well and that’s why we played well. We were all disappointed with our effort against Canisius. That’s what character is. Siena players have character. It’s what you do next.”
With the win, Siena improved to 8-19 overall, 4-10 in the MAAC, while Iona fell to 16-11 on the season, 10-5 in conference play.
The Saints return to action on Thursday when they travel to Lawrenceville, NJ to take on the Rider Broncs. Tip-off is set for 7pm. This will be the only time the two teams meet this season due to the restructuring of the conference schedule. Rider enters the contest at 19-7 overall and 12-2 in the MAAC. The Broncs are coming off an 89-79 win over Marist on Saturday. Rider is led by Dimencio Vaughn who is averaging 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Last year, the two teams split the season series with each team protecting their home court. The Broncs won 71-69 in Lawrenceville, while Siena came away with a 78-68 win in Albany in a game that made national headlines, as a fight broke out between the two teams in the waning seconds.