Saints Struggle at Home
After starting off the season 2-2, the Saints dropped a pair of games to Patriot League opponents this week and are in the midst of a three game skid heading into the final week of November. Siena lost 80-69 in their home opener Wednesday night and suffered an 84-79 defeat at the hands of Colgate at the Times Union Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints found themselves trailing Patriot League favorite, Lehigh, 42-37 at halftime after a back-and-forth opening stanza. The Mountain Hawks kept Siena at an arm’s length throughout the second half, but the Saints did manage to cut the lead to three (64-61) with 6:39 remaining. Lehigh used a 10-0 run to pull away and win 80-69. The Mountain Hawks shot 58-percent from the floor, including a blistering 63.2-percent from beyond the arc. Siena shot just 40.6-percent from the field and connected on just 8-of-30 (26.7-percent) three point attempts. The Saints failed to make 10 or more three pointers for the second consecutive game after doing so in their first three contests. Kyle Leufroy led Lehigh with 25 points, on 8-of-11 shooting and 4-of-5 from distance, five rebounds, and three assists. Freshman point guard Jalen Pickett paced Siena with 25 points, on 10-of-19 from the field and 4-of-8 from deep, six boards, seven assists, and three steals. Senior forward Evan Fisher contributed with 13 points, on 5-of-13 attempts from the floor, and seven rebounds in the losing effort.
The Saints hosted the Colgate Raiders in a Saturday afternoon matinee and fell 84-79 in an up tempo affair. Colgate led for 14 of the first 20 minutes and took a six point lead (43-37) into the break. Siena rallied to take a 69-65 lead after a three point play by Fisher with 5:13 left in the game, but the Raiders used a 10-2 run to take a four point lead (75-71) that they would not relinquish. Sophomore guard Manny Camper missed three free throws in the final minute and Colgate escaped the Times Union Center with a victory. The Raiders shot 54.7-percent from the floor and 47.8-percent from three, while the Saints shot 53.3-percent from the field, but just 21.7-percent (5-of-23) from three point land. Siena failed to connect on 10 or more three point field goals for the third straight game—a trend that will need to be reversed if the Saints want to get back into the win column. Jordan Burns poured in 25 points, on 9-of-14 shooting and 5-of-9 from three, to lead Colgate. He also dished out four assists. Siena was led by Fisher who netted a career-high 22 points, on 9-of-12 shooting, and six rebounds. Pickett stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, on 9-of-16 from the floor, five boards, nine assists, seven steals, and two blocks. Camper added 10 points, on 4-of-9 from the field, and seven rebounds. Junior forward Sammy Friday IV finished with 10 points, on 4-of-6 shooting in the loss.
Player of the Week: Jalen Pickett
For the second time in the season’s first three weeks, Siena’s player of the week is Jalen Pickett. The freshman point guard was impressive in his first two starts at home. Pickett averaged 23 points and shot 54.3-percent from the floor in two games. He quarterbacked the offensive attack well, posting a 4:1 assist to turnover ratio against Lehigh and Colgate. Defensively, Pickett has proven that he is a tremendous two way player as he recorded totals of 10 steals and three blocks this past week. Jamion Christian’s first recruit to Siena has done everything asked of him over the early portion of the Saints’ schedule and will look to be one of the best freshman in the MAAC moving forward.
Up Next: Hofstra Pride and Harvard Crimson
After their two game home stand, Siena will travel to Long Island to take on Hofstra on Wednesday at 7pm. The Pride are 3-3 and are coming off a 69-67 overtime loss to VCU on the road. Hofstra is led by one of the best players in mid-major college basketball, Justin Wright-Foreman, who is averaging 28 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. Last year, the Saints beat the Pride 85-76 at the Times Union Center.
Siena will return home on Saturday, December 1 to play Harvard. Tip-off is set for 3pm. The game is part of a doubleheader with the Siena women who will tip off against Florida Atlantic at 1pm. This game was added to the schedule to replace the Albany Cup that was suspended this year as Siena and UAlbany could not come to an agreement as to where the game should be played. The Crimson are 3-3, coming off a 74-68 win over St. Mary’s on the road. Harvard will play Holy Cross before heading to Albany to battle with the Saints. The Crimson are led by Chris Lewis who is averaging 15.8 points per contest.