Saints Split a pair to Improve to 3-5
Siena improved to 3-5 on the season this week after splitting a pair of contests against Hofstra and Harvard.
The Saints comeback fell just short on Long Island as they fell 94-86 to the Hofstra Pride Wednesday night. Hofstra sunk their first six attempts from beyond the arc and built a 45-37 lead at the break. The Pride jumped out to a 77-57 lead with 8:10 left in the game, but Siena would not go away easily. The Saints rattled off an 18-4 run that culminated with a three pointer by Sloan Seymour to pull with six (81-75) of Hofstra with 3:11 left. Siena was unable to get over the hump and the Pride escaped with the victory.
Hofstra, who shot 54.4-percent from the field and 46.7-percent from three, was led by one of the best players in mid-major college basketball, Justin Wright-Foreman. Wright-Foreman paced the Pride with 28 points.
The Saints shot 54.2-percent from the field, but connected on only 34.6-percent of their attempts from three point land. Reigning MAAC Rookie of the Week, Jalen Pickett, posted a double-double with 27 points, on 9-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-3 from deep, and 13 assists. The freshman point guard only turned the ball over once in the losing effort. He also grabbed five rebounds. Evan Fisher poured in a career-high 25 points, on 12-of-17 shooting, and pulled down seven boards. Seymour added 13 points, while Kevin Degnan finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Siena looked to end their four game losing streak against the Harvard Crimson in a Saturday matinee at the Times Union Center. The Saints used a 10-3 to take a 27-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. The 22 points Siena held Harvard to in the first 20 minutes were the fewest points the Saints have allowed in a half all season. Siena used a 9-4 run to take their largest lead of the game, 52-39, with 9:12 to go. The Crimson ended the game with a 12-5 spurt, but Justin Bassey missed a potential game tying three at the buzzer. The Saints emerged with a 67-64 victory, the first home win under first year head coach Jamion Christian.
Harvard shot 50-percent from the field, but the Crimson were clearly bothered by Siena’s defensive pressure. The Saints forced the Crimson into 15 turnovers. Bassey led the Harvard with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
Siena shot 44.6-percent from the field and 34.8-percent from distance in the win. The Saints were led by Degnan, who tallied career-highs with 16 points and three blocks. He also corralled four rebounds. Pickett chipped in with 14 points, four rebounds, and eight assists. Sammy Friday IV provided a spark off the bench with 10 points and three boards.
Evan Fisher left the game in the second half with what appeared to be an ankle injury and did not return. His status moving forward is yet to be determined.
Player of the Week: Kevin Degnan
To keep things interesting and to not give the player of the week to Jalen Pickett for the third time in four weeks, this week’s player of the week for Siena is Kevin Degnan. Degnan averaged 13 points and six rebounds and was a key reason as to why the Saints pulled of the win over Harvard. If Degnan can provide a third option to Pickett and Fisher, Siena could really benefit, especially if Fisher’s injury is serious.
Up Next: St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris
The Saints begin a two game road trip when they look to win back the Franciscan Cup against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday at 7pm. The Bonnies are 3-5 and are coming off a 90-61 win over Delaware State on Saturday. St. Bonaventure is led by Jalen Poyser, who is averaging 16.5 points per game. Last year, the Bonnies defeated Siena 75-55 in Albany.
The second game of the road trip will be at Robert Morris on Saturday at 4pm. The Colonials are 4-4 on the season and are coming off an 82-69 loss at Drexel on Saturday. Robert Morris is led by Josh Williams who is averaging 12.3 points per game. Last season, the Saints defeated the Colonials 76-74 at the Times Union Center.