Fairfield at Siena

Siena Stumbles on Senior Night

kadeem fairfield.jpg

Siena lost to Fairfield on Senior Night at the Times Union Center by a score of 70-69 on Wednesday.

Redshirt junior, Kadeem Smithen, who is a senior academically, was honored before the game. His status as a member of the men’s basketball program for the 2018-2019 season is uncertain to date.

Ferron Flavors Jr. connected on a pair of free throws with 49 seconds left to give the Stags a 67-60 lead. Fairfield missed three of their next four attempts from the foul line and the Saints climbed within two, 68-66 on a layup by Smithen with 16 seconds to go. Preseason MAAC Player of the Year, Tyler Nelson, drained two foul shots to extend the Stags’ lead to 70-66 with 11 seconds remaining. Christian Bentley hit a three pointer at the buzzer to provide the final margin, but Siena’s late comeback fell just short.

In a game that featured eleven ties and eight lead changes, the Saints went on a 9-0 to take a 26-18 lead with 5:44 to go in the opening stanza. Khalil Richard gave Siena a 36-30 advantage on a jumper as time expired in the first half.

The Saints shot 52.9% from the field, compared to just 43.6% shooting for the Fairfield. Siena was unable to take advantage at the charity stripe. The Saints were successful on just 10-of-22 from the line, compared to 15-of-27 for the Stags. Fairfield forced Siena into 14 turnovers. The Saints outrebounded the Stags 37-31.

Fairfield was led by Nelson who scored 18 points, on 6-of-20 from the field, grabbed 6 rebounds, dished out 3 assists, and came away with 3 steals in the victory.

Siena was led by Smithen who tallied 16 points and corralled 6 rebounds. Prince Oduro and Richard poured in 14 points apiece. Oduro pulled down 4 rebounds, while Richard claimed 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

Evan Fished added 7 points and 6 rebounds, while Bentley finished with 6 points of his own. Jordan Horn stuffed the stat sheet with 5 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Sammy Friday contributed with 5 points and 5 rebounds.

Jimmy Patsos commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “There’s nothing more glaring than shooting 45 percent from the free-throw line in a one-point game,” Patsos said. “This thing’s not over. There’s a lot of basketball to be played. That being said, if we could just get a little more consistency, we could build momentum.”

With the loss, the Saints fell to 8-22 overall, 4-13 in the MAAC, while Fairfield improved to 13-15 on the season, 8-9 in conference play. Siena stands alone in last place in the MAAC, but can still finish with either the 9th, 10th, or 11th seed in next weekend’s MAAC Tournament.

The Saints will close out the 2017-2018 regular season when they travel to Jersey City to take on St. Peter’s on Sunday at 2pm. The Peacocks enter the contest at 10-17 overall and 4-12 in the MAAC. St. Peter’s is coming off a 69-51 loss to Marist on Saturday. The Peacocks are led by Nick Griffin who is averaging 13.1 points per game. St. Peter’s will play at Quinnipiac on Friday before squaring up against Siena. The Saints will look to sweep the season series from the Peacocks. Siena defeated St. Peter’s, 59-57, in triple overtime on January 29.

North Carolina at Syracuse

Syracuse’s Upset Bid Falls Short

tyus unc
The Daily Orange

Syracuse was defeated, 78-74, by #10 North Carolina at home Wednesday night.

The Orange trailed the Tar Heels by as many as 12 points in the second half, but Syracuse outscored North Carolina 23-11 leading up to when Tyus Battle tied the game at 74 on a jumper with 3:09 left.

Joel Berry II rattled off the final four points off the game, including the game-winning break-away layup with 1:36 left to seal the win for the Tar Heels.

The Orange had success driving against the Tar Heels in the second half, but settled for jump shots down the stretch and were unable to come up with the win.

North Carolina stretched their lead to 12 points with 31 seconds remaining in the opening stanza, but a three pointer by Oshae Brissett before the halftime buzzer cut the Tar Heels’ lead to 41-32 and gave the Orange momentum going into the second half.

North Carolina shot 44.6% from the field, compared to 43.1% shooting for Syracuse. The Tar Heels held a 38-34 advantage on the glass, including 15-11 on the offensive boards.

North Carolina was led by Theo Pinson’s career-high 23 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.

The Orange were led by Tyus Battle who scored 26 points and dished out a career-high 6 assists. Frank Howard poured in 23 points, including five made three pointers. Brissett recorded his eleventh double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Paschal Chukwu grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked 4 shots.

Battle, Howard and Brissett, who all rank in the top ten nationally in minutes played, logged 40 minutes apiece on the night. Battle has now played 40 minutes in nine-straight contests.

Jim Boeheim commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “We did everything we could to get back in it,” Boeheim said. “Frank, Tyus, and Oshae were tremendous. We got hurt a little bit on the offensive boards, second chance shots in the second half. They [North Carolina] capitalized. These guys played their hearts out, as they have all year long, and again North Carolina is a tremendous team.”

Wednesday’s Carrier Dome attendance of 27,165 was the nation’s largest on-campus crowd this season.

With the loss, Syracuse fell to 18-10 overall, 7-8 in the ACC, while North Carolina improved to 22-7 on the season, 11-5 in conference play.

The Orange will continue to look for their first win against a ranked opponent this season when they travel to Tobacco Road to take on Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday at 6:15pm. The Blue Devils are 23-5 overall, 11-4 in the ACC, and are coming off an 82-56 win over Louisville on Wednesday. Duke is led by Marvin Bagley III who is averaging 21.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Bagley III is day-to-day with a sprained knee and has missed the Blue Devils’ last four games. Last year, Syracuse defeated Duke 78-75 on a three point shot banked in at the buzzer by John Gillon.

Monmouth at Siena

Siena Falls Short in Triple Overtime Heartbreaker

Khalil Monmouth

Siena lost 93-89 in triple overtime to the visiting Monmouth Hawks on Sunday afternoon at the Times Union Center.

Ahsante Shivers fouled Austin Tilghman with 3.1 seconds to go in the third overtime session and he converted two free throws to give the Hawks the lead for good. Tilghman was also fouled after Siena turned the ball over and pushed the margin of victory to four on two additional free throws.

Jordan Horn connected on a jumper to tie the game at 89 with 4.3 seconds left in triple overtime. Many thought the game was headed to a fourth overtime until Shivers was unaware of the score and fouled Tilghman.

In a back-and-forth affair, which featured 18 ties and 18 lead changes, Monmouth took a 36-34 lead into halftime. After Tilghman connected on a pair of free throws with one minute left, Thomas Huerter, Jr. sank a short jumper to tie the game at 66 and send the game to overtime.

Shivers put the Saints ahead with a layup with 30.1 seconds to go in the first overtime, but Ray Salnave responded and hit two free throws to tie the game at 74 with 6.1 seconds left, sending the game to a second overtime period.

Monmouth jumped out to an 85-80 lead with 25.8 seconds remaining in the second overtime. With that, many fans made their way to the exits, but the Saints were not done yet. Christian Bentley converted an old-fashioned three-point play and Horn buried two free throws to send the game to a third overtime tied at 85.

Tilghman led the Hawks with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals in the victory.

Siena was led by Khalil Richard who scored 23 points off the bench before fouling out. Evan Fisher tallied 19 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. Horn poured in 14 points and corralled 4 rebounds. Shivers added 10 points and 6 rebounds.

Huerter, Jr. and Prince Oduro stuffed the stat sheet for the Saints before they both fouled out. Huerter, Jr. recorded 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, while Oduro finished with 6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks.

Jimmy Patsos commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “This is Shivers’ 27th game of the year, it’s a three-overtime game and he played a lot last year,’” Patsos said. “That’s why I wanted to be very clear. I’ll take responsibility as the head coach. You can’t control everything. We just lost a hard basketball game. This thing is far from over because I saw a little more fight from my team that may have even surprised me.”

With the loss, Siena fell to 8-21 overall, 4-12 in the MAAC, while Monmouth improved to 10-18 on the season, 6-10 in conference play.

The Saints will return to action on Wednesday night when they host Fairfield for Senior Night at 7pm. Kadeem Smithen will be honored before the game. The Stags enter the contest at 12-15 overall and 7-9 in the MAAC. Fairfield is coming off a 102-98 double overtime win over Quinnipiac on Saturday. The Stags are led by MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, Tyler Nelson, who is averaging 21.9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. In the win over the Bobcats, Nelson became the all-time leading scorer in Fairfield’s program history. Siena will look to avenge an earlier loss to the Stags this season. Fairfield came away with a 78-65 win in Bridgeport, CT on February 5.

Syracuse at Miami

Syracuse Earns Key Road Win

frank howard maimi

Syracuse defeated Miami 62-55 on Saturday.

With 1:52 left in the contest, a layup by Chris Lykes narrowed Syracuse’s advantage to 54-51. Tyus Battle answered on the next possession with a 3-pointer. Two free throws by Sam Waardenburg with 25 seconds left pulled the Hurricanes within three again, 58-55. The hosts fouled Marek Dolezaj and he drained two free throws with 19 seconds remaining. Battle iced the contest with two more from the charity stripe with nine seconds remaining.

A 7-0 run by Miami gave the Hurricanes a 21-20 with 2:06 left in the opening stanza. The teams went to the break tied at 25. After Miami scored the first bucket of the second half, Syracuse rattled off a 15-0 run to take a 40-28 lead. A layup by Oshae Brissett with 8:42 to go ended a 15-3 Miami run and gave the Orange the lead for good.

The Hurricanes were led by Lykes who scored 14 points and dished out 4 assists.

Syracuse was led by Frank Howard who tallied a game high 18 points, to go along with 6 assists on only one turnover. Brissett recorded his tenth double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Battle added 13 points and 4 rebounds. Dolezaj finished with a career-high 11 points.

Jim Boeheim commented on his team’s play in his postgame press conference. “Everybody in this league is good,” Boeheim said. “It doesn’t matter where you play or who you play, it’s a tough game. To come on the road and win, obviously, is big. I thought Oshae was great tonight and Frank. Tyus had an off game, but he’s going to make that shot at the end—he’s made them all year—and that was the game, I thought. Between Marek’s two and then that three.”

The Orange improved to 18-9 overall, 7-7 in the ACC, while Miami fell to 18-7 on the season, 7-7 in conference play.

Syracuse will look to secure another key win on their resume when they host North Carolina on Wednesday at 7pm. The Tar Heels are 21-7 overall, 10-5 in the ACC, and are coming off a 93-76 win at Louisville on Saturday. North Carolina is led by Luke Maye who is averaging 18.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Last year, the Tar Heels beat the Orange 85-68 in Chapel Hill, NC in the lone meeting between the two teams.

Weekly Round-Up (2/17)

Winners, Losers, and What to Watch

Here’s a look at this week’s winners and losers and Saturday’s premier match-up.

Winner: Michigan State Spartans

jaren jackson jr

Michigan State (25-3, 13-2) has now won nine consecutive games after defeating #3 Purdue last Saturday at home on a three-pointer in the closing second by Miles Bridges and drubbing Minnesota by 30 on Tuesday thanks to 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks from Jaren Jackson Jr. The Spartans climbed to #2 in the country and are tied for first place in the Big Ten with Ohio State. With a lower strength of schedule than the rest of the top teams in the country, Michigan State has kept themselves in the conversation by simply winning games and avoiding bad losses. The Spartans close out the regular season with games at Northwestern on Saturday at 2, home against Illinois, and at Wisconsin. A strong showing at Madison Square Garden in the Big Ten Tournament could land Michigan State a one seed. With a week off to prepare between the end of their conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans will be primed and ready for a deep run in March. Look for Michigan State to be motivated by the disrespect the selection committee demonstrated when they seeded them as a 3-seed in their bracket reveal last week.

Loser: Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma has now lost four games in a row (and seven of their last nine) and is proving that the selection committee’s choice to seed them as a 4-seed in the bracket reveal last week was an absolute joke. Trae Young has tried to keep his team afloat all season, but has fallen short recently. Despite the fact that Young is averaging 29.1 points and 9.3 assists per game, his percentages have slipped a bit recently. Specifically, Young has misfired on 18 of his last 19 attempts from three-point land. Aside from Young, Oklahoma only has two other double figure scorers in Christian James and Brady Manek. Oklahoma is in desperate need of a big game from Young or contributions from some of their supporting cast to get back in the win column. The Sooners (16-9, 6-7) have slid to #23 nationally and fifth place in the Big 12. Oklahoma will look to avenge an earlier loss to Texas when they take on Mohamed Bamba and the Longhorns at noon on Saturday. Although Young is still the leading candidate to win the National Player of the Year, I am skeptical of the Sooners’ reliance on him to take them far in March.

Premier Match-Up: #3 Villanova at #4 Xavier (4:30pm FOX)

jalen brunson
NBC Sports

Saturday’s premier match-up features a rematch between #3 Villanova (23-3, 10-3) and #4 Xavier (24-3, 12-2) in Cincinnati. The winner would all but win the Big East regular season championship. The Wildcats trounced the Musketeers in Philadelphia on January 10 when Phil Booth, who has been sidelined with a broken hand since late last month, led all scorers with 21 points. Villanova, who relies heavily on three pointers, struggled in their loss to Providence as they made just 3-of-20 of their attempts from deep. The Wildcats have lost two of their last three outings and will look to bounce back with a big win against Xavier. Villanova averages 11.3 successful three-point tries per game and their dreadful performance against the Friars snapped an 83 game streak where they connected on 4 or more shots from behind the arc. In light of their recent struggles, Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges have been spectacular this season as they are averaging 19.8 and 16.5 points, respectively. Prior to breaking his hand, Booth was third on the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game. Donte DiVincenzo has stepped into a starting role and is now averaging 14 points per contest. The other two starters, Omari Spellman and Eric Paschall are also averaging double figures. With Booth out, there is little bench production for Villanova. The Wildcats will have to rely heavily on their stars to leave the Cintas Center victorious.

trevon bluiett

Xavier enters Saturday as winners of their last nine games since losing to Villanova and have won those games by an average margin of 87-78. Most recently, the Musketeers went off for offensive explosion in their 102-90 victory over Seton Hall in which Trevon Bluiett lit it up for 37 points on only 12 shots. Bluiett, J.P. Macura, and Kerem Kanter have led Xavier to the top of the conference. Xavier ranks 9th nationally in points per game, but 239th in points allowed, while Villanova is 3rd and 133rd in those same categories. The Musketeers will look to make their case for a one seed by defending their home court against the Wildcats. Xavier is a perfect 16-0 at home this season. Expect Xavier to hold serve and take care of business at home in a fast, up-and-down, offensive game.

Xavier 86, Villanova 84

Siena at Rider

Siena Romped by Rider

jordan horn rider
The Daily Gazette

Siena lost 97-71 to Rider on Thursday night. The Saints have now lost their last two road games (to the top two teams in the league) by a combined 50 points.

A layup by Tyere Marshall with 18:18 to go in the first half gave Rider a 5-4 lead—one they would not relinquish the rest of the way.

The Broncs shot 59.5% from the field in the opening stanza to take a 50-38 lead at the break. Rider cooled off and shot 54.8% from the floor in the second half to build their 26 point margin of victory.

Siena shot just 38.7% from the field, but continued to shoot well from distance as they connected on 10-of-23 (43.5%) of their attempts from beyond the arc.

The Saints were within one (39-38) in the battle on the boards against the MAAC’s leading rebounding team.

The Broncs used their relentless full court press and forced Siena into 18 turnovers.

Rider was led by Dimencio Vaughn who scored 19 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.

Siena was led by Jordan Horn’s 18 points and 4 rebounds. Kadeem Smithen and Evan Fisher tallied 10 points and corralled 4 rebounds apiece. Smithen also blocked four shots. Prince Oduro finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds. Sammy Friday added 7 points and 4 rebounds.

Jimmy Patsos commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “They [Rider] were ready for us,” Patsos said. “They’re really good. They’re physical. When it got away from us, we lost our focus in the defensive end.”

With the loss Siena fell to 8-20 overall, 4-11 in the MAAC, while Rider improved to 20-7 on the season and 13-2 in conference play.

The Saints will return home to take on the Monmouth Hawks on Sunday afternoon at 2. Iona enters the contest at 9-17 overall, 5-9 in the league. The Hawks are coming off a 73-57 win over St. Peter’s on Tuesday. Before making the trip to Albany, Monmouth will host Canisius on Friday. The Saints will look to avenge an earlier loss to the Hawks this season. Siena lost to Monmouth 67-56 on the Jersey shore on January 25.

North Carolina State at Syracuse

Syracuse’s Comeback Falls Short to North Carolina State

oshae nc state

Syracuse suffered a debilitating loss to North Carolina State, 74-70, on Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome.

After trailing 70-62 with 2:48 left, the Orange used an 8-0 run, capped by a three pointer from Oshae Brissett, to tie the game at 70 with 1:01 to go. Markell Johnson drilled a trey to put the Wolfpack up 73-70 with 33.4 remaining. A late Omer Yurtseven free throw sealed the victory for North Carolina State.

Syracuse led 24-17 with 7:53 left in the first half, but a 13-2 run by the Wolfpack gave them the lead. North Carolina State took a 35-32 lead into the break on a layup by Allerik Freeman at the buzzer.

The Orange led 54-48 with 9:43 to go in the final stanza, but an 8-2 run by the Wolfpack tied the game at 56. A Sam Hunt triple with 7:13 remaining jump-started the 14-6 spurt that put North Carolina State up eight late.

The Wolfpack shot 55.1% from the field, including 10-of-23 (43.5%) from distance. Syracuse shot 52.3% from the field, but connected on only 5-of-14 (35.7%) of their attempts from deep. The disparity in three point shooting won the game for North Carolina State.

The Wolfpack were led by Freeman who scored 17 points and dished out 5 assists. Johnson tallied 16 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and distributed 5 assists. Hunt, who did not score in nine minutes against North Carolina on Saturday, lit up the Orange for 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

Syracuse was led by Brissett who poured in 25 points on 8-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from three-point land. Brissett also corralled 7 rebounds. Tyus Battle finished with 17 points. Frank Howard added 16 points and 6 assists. Matthew Moyer contributed with 8 points and 4 rebounds off the bench.

Jim Boeheim commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “The game was decided on us not getting to three point shooters in the last couple of minutes,” Boeheim said. “They’re a good shooting team and they made them. Our defense was just not good enough tonight.”

The loss does not bode well for Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament hopes. At 16-9 overall, 6-7 in the ACC, the Orange missed the opportunity to knock off another bubble team in North Carolina State (17-9, 7-6 ACC). Syracuse has the opportunity to play themselves into the Tournament with big wins down the stretch, but that may be tough to come by. In their final five games, the Orange are at Miami, home against North Carolina, at Duke and Boston College, and then home against Clemson. Syracuse has a lot to prove to the selection committee. Even though the opportunity is there, it will not be easy.

The Orange will travel to Coral Gables, FL to take on the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday at noon. Miami enters the contest at 18-7 overall and 7-6 in the ACC. The Hurricanes suffered a 59-50 setback at the hands of Virginia on Tuesday. Miami has a balanced attack that is led by Dewan Huell who is averaging 11.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Last year, Syracuse came away with a 70-55 win over the Hurricanes at home during the regular season, but fell 62-57 to the Hurricanes in the ACC Tournament.