Syracuse suffered their second loss in three games when they lost at North Carolina State last Wednesday night.
The Orange fell behind by as many as 12, 28-16, in the first stanza, but Syracuse trimmed their halftime deficit to just three, 30-27, at the break. Frank Howard connected on a three-pointer to pull Syracuse within one, 35-34, with 18:04 remaining, but the Orange would not get any closer the rest of the way. The Wolfpack ripped off a 16-3 run, capped off by a dunk by DJ Funderbunk, to put the game away for good. North Carolina State went on to win by a score of 73-58.
The Wolfpack shot 49-percent from the field and held the Syracuse to a mere 35-percent from the floor to earn the win. North Carolina State dominated the Orange on the boards, winning the battle on the glass 42-31.
Braxton Beverly led the Wolfpack with 21 points. Torin Dorn posted a double-double with 16 points, on 7-of-14 shooting, and 12 rebounds. Dorn also dished out three assists and came away with two steals. Funderbunk came off the bench and scored 12 points.
Howard led the Orange with 21 points on 8-of-16 from the field. Marek Dolezaj came off the bench and tallied 10 points, pulled down five boards, and grabbed three steals.
With the loss, Syracuse fell to 17-8 overall and 8-4 in the ACC.
Player of the Week: Frank Howard
The one bright spot from the horrific loss at North Carolina State was the performance of Frank Howard. The 21 points he scored were his season high. The more puzzling result was that none of his teammates stepped up to support him. Syracuse needs to have all their players show up down the stretch if they want to stay in the top half of the conference and not have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday.
Up Next: Louisville and Duke
Syracuse begins an arduous stretch of games against three consecutive ranked opponents when they take on #18 Louisville in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 7pm. The Cardinals are 18-8 overall and 9-4 in the league in Chris Mack’s first year at the helm. Louisville is coming off a narrow 56-55 win over Clemson on Saturday. The Cardinals are led by Jordan Nwora who is averaging 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
The Orange will host #1 Duke on Saturday evening. ESPN’s College GameDay will be inside the “Loud House” for the rematch between the two schools. Syracuse won the first meeting, 95-91 in overtime, at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 14th. The Blue Devils have not lost since falling to the Orange and are back at full strength. Duke is 23-2 on the season, 11-1 in conference, and is coming off a 94-78 win over North Carolina State on Saturday. The Blue Devils will take on arch rival North Carolina on Wednesday before traveling north to battle Syracuse. Duke’s star freshman have led them to take back the number one ranking. The Blue Devils are led by RJ Barrett who is averaging 22.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4 assists per contest. Likely #1 NBA Draft pick Zion Williamson is averaging 22.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Cam Reddish missed the first game against the Orange with flu-like symptoms, while Tre Jones exited the contest just over five minutes into the game after colliding with Howard as the two were diving for a loose ball. Syracuse will need to be ready for both players to see meaningful minutes in the rematch. Reddish is averaging 13.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, while Jones is Duke’s quarterback averaging 8.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per contest.
The Orange have quite the tests on their schedule this week, but if they are up to the task, they will bolster their NCAA Tournament resume.
After winning seven of eight, the Siena Saints have slipped back into a tie for fifth place in the MAAC after losing to Iona and Quinnipiac at home this week.
Siena looked to sweep the season series from Iona when they hosted the defending MAAC champions on Wednesday night. The Saints took a 30-26 lead into halftime. The Gaels opened the second stanza with a 10-0 run and took a 36-30 advantage after Asante Gist converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 16:47 left. Siena responded and used a 21-2 spurt to build a 51-38 lead on a triple by Jalen Pickett with eight minutes remaining. Iona refused to go away. The Gaels closed the contest with a 19-1 run to close out a 57-52 win on the road.
Iona held Siena to 37.5-shooting, while the Gaels shot it at a 40.4-percent clip. Iona also outrebounded the Saints 38-31.
Tajuan Agee led the Gaels with 25 points, on 9-of-17 shooting, 13 rebounds, and two steals.
Evan Fisher paced Siena with 17 points, on 7-of-18 from the field, four rebounds, a steal, and a block. Sloan Seymour added 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, while Pickett stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals, and three blocks.
The Saints looked to rebound from their loss to MAAC rival with a win over Quinnipiac. The winner would be tied with Canisius atop the conference. The lone regular season meeting between the two schools this year was an epic fight. Siena held a 20-18 advantage after a layup by Pickett with 6:10 to go before intermission. The Bobcats ended the half on a 21-4 spurt and took a 39-24 lead into the break. Quinnipiac built a 20-point advantage, 54-34, on a trey by Rich Kelly with 14:46 to play. The Saints would not go away. Siena rallied all the way back and took a 71-70 lead on a layup by Pickett with 1:27 remaining in regulation. Trailing 75-73, the Saints’ Manny Camper stole the ball from the Bobcats’ Jacob Rigoni. Camper sent the game into overtime tying it at 75 after converting a layup with five seconds left in regulation off an assist from Pickett.
Trailing by two, 86-84, Siena forced a second overtime when Pickett converted a layup with 0.5 seconds left. Seymour gave the Saints a 93-90 advantage when he connected on a three-pointer with 37 seconds to go in double overtime. On the ensuing possession, Cameron Young drew Quinnipiac even when he nailed a three of his own with 24 ticks on the clock. Pickett’s three at the buzzer was unsuccessful, and the game was sent to a third overtime. Young converted on an “and-one” opportunity with 4:43 to play in the third overtime period and gave the Bobcats a 96-93 lead that they would not relinquish. Quinnipiac pulled away to win 107-100 in three overtimes.
With the loss, Siena slipped to a tie for fifth place in the league with Iona and are now 13-14 overall and 8-6 in the MAAC. However, the Saints sit just one game out of first place.
The game was a tale of two incredible individual performances. Cameron Young of Quinnipiac scored 55 points, the highest individual scoring output by anyone in a game in Division I college basketball this season. The senior guard shot 15-of-24 and pulled down 10 rebounds to help his team secure the win on the road. Siena’s Jalen Pickett tallied 46 points, on 14-of-26 shooting, dished out 13 assists, and came away with four steals in the losing effort. With these performances, Young will likely land MAAC Player of the Week honors, while Pickett will be in contention for his ninth MAAC Rookie of the Week honor of the season.
Rich Kelly poured in 24 points, on 9-of-15 from the floor, for the Bobcats.
The Saints’ Manny Camper dropped in a career-high 21 points, on 8-of-14 from the field, and five rebounds before fouling out in the third overtime. Kevin Degnan finished with 15 points and eight boards.
With his final three against Quinnipiac, freshman Sloan Seymour tied Scott Knapp’s program record for the most three-pointers made in a season by a newcomer. Seymour will have the chance to break the record over the course of Siena’s final four games of the regular season.
The Bobcats shot 50.7-percent from the field, including 15-of-30 from beyond the arc, while Siena shot 42.9-percent from the floor and 11-of-33 from deep. Quinnipiac bullied the Saints on the boards, winning the battle on the glass 50-31.
With the win, Quinnipiac moved into a tie with Canisius for first place in the MAAC.
Player of the Week: Manny Camper
Although Jalen Pickett’s performance against the Bobcats was one of the best individual performances in the country this season, this week’s player of the week for Siena was Manny Camper. His 21 points against Quinnipiac was a welcomed surprise. Coach Jamion Christian had mentioned that Camper needed to be more of a threat on the offensive end for the Saints moving forward and the sophomore certainly stepped up. If Siena hopes to earn a bye in the MAAC Tournament (which is now only three weeks away), Camper’s continued improvement on the offensive end would be crucial to their success in securing a top seed.
Up Next: St. Peter’s and Marist
Siena continues their four-game home stand when they host St. Peter’s and Marist at the Times Union Center this coming week. The Saints will look to split the season series with St. Peter’s when the schools meet on Tuesday night at 7pm. The Peacocks won the first meeting between the two schools, 65-60, in Jersey City, New Jersey on January 3rd. St. Peter’s is 6-19 overall, 3-10 in the league, and are coming off a 71-65 loss to Rider. The Peacocks are led by Davauhnte Turner who is averaging 16.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game.
The Saints will host Marist on Sunday in a Senior Day matinee at 2pm. Siena will honor seniors Evan Fisher, Kevin Degnan, Kadeem Smithen, Braedon Bayer, and Paulo Morastoni before the game. The Saints will hope to sweep the season series from the Red Foxes. Marist is 12-14 overall, 7-7 in conference, and is coming off a 75-67 win over Monmouth. The Red Foxes will host St. Peter’s on Friday before traveling up to Albany on Sunday. Marist is led by Brian Parker who is averaging 14.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per contest.
Syracuse rebounded from Tuesday night’s blowout loss to #22 Florida State with a 67-56 win over the Boston College Eagles in the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon.
With Syracuse trailing 17-16 after three free throws by Boston College’s Jordan Chatman, the game changed when Buddy Boeheim entered the contest for the Orange. Boeheim connected on three triples and a pair of free throws to help Syracuse take a 31-24 lead into the break. The Orange pulled away early in the second half and opened up a 60-40 advantage on a dunk by Tyus Battle. The Eagles would not go away easily. Boston College used a 14-0 run to pull within six, 60-54, when Ky Bowman nailed a trey with 3:54 left. Syracuse closed the game with a 7-2 spurt to hang on for a 67-56 victory.
The Orange’s vaunted 2-3 zone perplexed the Eagles all afternoon. Syracuse held Boston College to just 33.3-percent shooting and forced the Eagles into 18 turnovers. The 24 points Boston College scored in the first half was their lowest scoring output in a 20 minute period all season. The Orange shot the ball at a 41.5-percent clip and took advantage of the Eagles’ carelessness with the basketball, outscoring the visitors 25-5 in points off turnovers.
Bowman led Boston College with 21 points, on 7-of-12 from the field, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The junior guard came off the bench due to a violation of a minor team rule. Chatman added 12 points, while Nik Popovic finished with 10 points and five boards in the loss.
Syracuse was paced by Battle who tallied 21 points, on an efficient 8-of-13 from the field, corralled four rebounds, and came away with three steals. Boeheim scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed three steals, while Oshae Brissett recorded his third consecutive double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
With the win, the Orange improved to 17-7 overall and 8-3 in ACC play. Syracuse sits in a tie for fourth place in the conference with Louisville who is ranked #16 in the nation.
Player of the Week: Buddy Boeheim
This week’s player of the week for Syracuse is Buddy Boeheim. “Daddy’s Boy,” as Pittsburgh students chanted last Saturday, is shooting 52.9-percent from three in the Orange’s last eight games. Boeheim’s prowess continued from beyond the arc will be key for Syracuse down the stretch to open driving lanes for Battle and Brissett.
Up Next: North Carolina State
Prior to their bye in ACC play this weekend, the Orange will travel to Raleigh to take on North Carolina State on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 8pm. The Wolfpack’s record is 17-7, 5-6 in league play. North Carolina State is coming off a 79-76 win at Pittsburgh on Saturday. Torin Dorn leads the Wolfpack in scoring, averaging 13.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
In the preseason, Siena was picked to finish last in the MAAC. After Sunday’s win at preseason favorite Rider, the Saints sit just half a game out of first place, tied for second with Canisius.
Looking to build a winning streak following their triumph over Iona on the road last Saturday, Siena hosted Fairfield on Monday at the Times Union Center. Both teams shot the ball over 50-percent from the floor in the first half and the Saints took a 38-32 lead into the break. The Stags tied the game at 47 on a layup by Wassef Methnani with 10:05 left. Siena used an 8-0 run to pull away capped off with a layup by Kadeem Smithen with 3:43 remaining. Siena picked up 12 consecutive defensive stops over that stretch and won 61-50.
After allowing Fairfield to shoot 52-percent in the opening stanza, the Saints held the Stags to 29.2-percent shooting over the course of the final twenty minutes. Siena’s defense also forced Fairfield into 17 turnovers. The Saints shot it at a 47.9-percent from the field, including 56.3-percent from three.
Landon Taliaferro led the Stags with 14 points.
Siena was paced by Evan Fisher who tallied 18 points, on 8-of-16 shooting, and four rebounds. Jalen Pickett stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, five boards, three assists, a block, and a steal. Kevin Deganan chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds, and three steals.
The Saints hoped to push their win streak to three when they traveled downstate to take on the Manhattan Jaspers at Draddy Gymnasium. It was a defensive affair throughout. Manhattan held Siena to 25-percent from the field in the first half and took a 17-16 advantage into the intermission. Siena turned it around in the second half and took a 14 point lead, 43-29, on a jumper by Fisher with 6:59 to go. The Jaspers rallied all the way back within two, 51-49, when Nehemiah Mack made a layup with four seconds left in the contest. Pickett missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Mack’s heave at the buzzer fell short and Siena prevailed.
Siena flexed its muscles on defense yet again holding Manhattan to 40-percent from the floor and forced the Jaspers into 16 turnovers. Siena pulled out the win despite shooting a dreadful 37.3-percent from the field.
Tyler Reynolds led Manhattan with 18 points, on 6-of-10 from the floor, and nine rebounds.
Fisher scored 18 points, on 8-of-15 shooting, and pulled down six boards to lead the Saints to victory.
Siena traveled to Lawrenceville, New Jersey Sunday afternoon to battle with the Rider Broncs. Entering the game, the Saints were engaged in a four way tie with Rider, Canisius, and Quinnipiac for second place in the MAAC. Siena opened up a 31-21 lead on a layup by Degnan with 3:26 to play in the opening stanza, but the Broncs came back to cut the Saints’ lead to 33-32 at halftime. Siena opened up a 46-36 advantage with 13:48 left when Smithen connected on a pair of free throws. As they did in the first twenty minutes, Rider stormed back and used a 13-3 run to tie the game at 49 with 8:14 remaining. With the game tied once again at 57, Manny Camper connected on a free throw with 36 ticks on the clock to give the Saints a 58-57 lead. Smithen connected on a free throw to extend Siena’s advantage to 59-57 with four seconds left on the clock. Jordan Allen missed a three-pointer at the buzzer and the Saints hung on to win another close game on the road.
Siena’s defense was stout throughout yet again. The Saints held the Broncs to 33.9-percent from the field, including an abysmal 1-of-16 (6.3-percent) from three-point land. Siena forced Rider into 13 turnovers as well. The Saints hung on even though they only shot 36-percent from the field.
Tyere Marshall led the Broncs with 19 points, on 8-of-14 shooting, and five rebounds.
Siena’s senior leadership proved to be the difference in the game as Fisher poured in 21 points, on 8-of-19 from the floor, and eight rebounds, while Smithen finished with 16 points, six boards, and four steals.
The Saints rank 30th nationally in scoring defense, holding opponents to 64.7 points per game, and are forcing their opponents into 16.5 turnovers per contest (40th in the nation).
Siena, who has won seven of their last eight games, is 13-12 overall, 8-4 in the MAAC and is tied for second place in the conference with Canisius – just a half game behind Monmouth.
Player of the Week: Evan Fisher
This week’s player of the week for Siena is Evan Fisher. The senior big man has been a key cog in the Saints’ success of late. Fisher averaged 19 points, on 48-percent shooting, and six rebounds as Siena extended their win streak to four this week. His play on the court and leadership are pivotal to fuel Siena as they enter the home stretch.
Up Next: Iona and Quinnipiac
Siena begins its four game home stand when they host MAAC rival Iona on Wednesday at the Times Union Center. Tip-off is set for 7pm. The Saints will look to sweep the season series from the Gaels. Last Saturday, Siena defeated Iona 56-54 in New Rochelle. The Gaels are 8-15 overall, 6-6 in the MAAC, and are coming off a 79-76 win over Niagara on Sunday. Iona is led by EJ Crawford who is averaging 17.9 points and five rebounds per game.
Next Sunday, the Saints will play host to Quinnipiac. Tip-off is set for 2pm. This will be the only meeting between the two schools this season. The Bobcats are 12-10 overall, 7-4 in the MAAC, and are coming off a 66-65 win over Iona on Friday. Quinnipiac is led by Cameron Young who is averaging 21.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest. Last year, the Bobcats swept the season series from Siena and ended their season in the MAAC Tournament winning 67-58 in Albany.
The Syracuse Orange are just over halfway through the ACC portion of the schedule and hold a 16-7 overall mark and a 7-3 record in conference play. There is still a long way to go in the regular season, but as of right now Syracuse is sitting on the right side of the bubble—a feat that seemed unlikely following four losses in the non-conference season. Let’s take a look at the last few games and the road ahead in the ACC.
The Orange entered their contest with Miami on a two game win streak having beaten then #1 Duke on the road and former Big East rival Pittsburgh at home. The Hurricanes kept it close in the first half and Syracuse entered the locker room with a 32-29 lead. Clinging to a three point lead, 42-39, with 15:09 remaining, the Orange set off on a 19-5 run to take control for good. Syracuse pulled away to a 73-53 win at home.
The Orange’s vaunted 2-3 zone baffled Miami. The Hurricanes shot just 33.9-percent and turned the ball over 13 times. On the other hand, Syracuse shot it at a 49.1-percent clip, including 46.7-percent from beyond the arc.
DJ Vasiljevic led Miami with 11 points and eight rebounds in the losing effort.
Elijah Hughes paced the Orange with 22 points, on 8-of-13 shooting, three rebounds, three blocks, and three steals. Buddy Boeheim chipped in with 12 points and three boards off the bench, while Tyus Battle added 10 points, six rebounds, and nine assists.
Syracuse put their three game win streak on the line when they traveled to Blacksburg to take on the 10th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia Tech raced out to a 43-24 halftime advantage. The Orange climbed to within eight, 43-35, on a free throw by Battle. Syracuse would get no closer the rest of the way and the Hokies would go on to win by a margin of 78-56.
Virginia Tech was shot over the zone by shooting 52.1-percent from the field and 46.7-percent from three-point land. The Hokies held the Orange to 36.4-percent from the floor.
Justin Robinson led Virginia Tech with 35 points, on 9-of-13 shooting from deep, three rebounds, and eight assists. Ahmed Hill scored 16 points, on 6-of-10 from the field, and six boards in the victory.
Oshae Brissett led the way for Syracuse as the sophomore forward tallied 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Frank Howard and Battle poured in 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Orange looked to rebound from their loss at the Hokies with a win over the Boston College Eagles—Syracuse’s second game of a three game road trip. Trailing 15-6, the Orange used a 14-0 spurt to take a 20-15 lead with 9:48 left in the opening stanza on a jumper by Howard. Syracuse took a 42-35 lead into intermission. Boston College got within six on a layup by Ky Bowman with 2:04 to play. That was the closest the Eagles would get as the Orange hung on for a 77-71 victory.
Syracuse shot 55.8-percent from the floor and drilled 11 triples to come away with the win.
Bowman and Jordan Chatman scored 21 points each to pace Boston College. Bowman also dished out four assists. Jared Hamilton added 12 points, while Nik Popovich finished with 11 points and six rebounds for the Eagles.
Battle poured in 31 points, on 11-of-17 from the floor, collected four rebounds, and distributed six assists in the win. Boeheim came up with another solid performance off the bench with a career-high 13 points and three boards. Hughes knocked in 10 points and pulled down four rebounds to help earn the Orange earn the hard fought road win.
Syracuse squared off with Pittsburgh for the second time this season in hopes of completing their three game road trip with a record of 2-1. The Orange took as much as a 16-point lead in the first twenty minutes and a 13-point lead, 35-22, into the half. The Panthers cut Syracuse’s lead to five, 46-41, when Jared Wilson-Frame nailed a three-pointer with 10:09 to go. The Orange responded with a 9-0 run to take a 55-41 advantage that they would not relinquish. Syracuse went on to win 65-56.
Syracuse’s defense stymied Pittsburgh’s attack. The Orange held the Panthers to 31.6-percent shooting, while Syracuse shot it at a 41.5-percent clip.
Terrell Brown led Pittsburgh with 16 points, on 8-of-13 from the field, and six rebounds. Xavier Johnson scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out 6 assists, while Wilson-Frame tallied 12 points and came down with 10 rebounds.
Brissett posted a double-double with 18 points, on 6-of-9 from the floor, and 12 rebounds. Howard dropped in 15 points and pulled down three boards. Paschal Chukwu finished with 10 points and eight rebounds to help the Orange to victory.
Florida State made a trip to the Carrier Dome Thursday night as Syracuse eyed another three game win streak and their second win over a ranked conference opponent. The 22nd ranked Seminoles raced out to a 36-14 lead. The Orange used a 17-3 spurt to end the first half to pull with eight, 39-31, at the break. Syracuse cut Florida State’s lead to one, 46-45, but failed to get over the hump and take the lead. The Seminoles pulled away over the final nine minutes of the contest to earn an 80-62 win at the Dome.
Having fallen behind by 22 points so early in the game, the Orange pressed throughout, but were noticeably gassed down the stretch. Florida State shot a blistering 54.5-percent from the field, including 50-percent from distance. Syracuse’s comeback was stopped short mainly due to their inefficient from behind the three point line where the Orange connected on just 5-of-20 of their attempts.
Terance Mann stuffed the stat sheet for the Seminoles with 22 points, nine, rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Mfiondu Kabengele scored 18 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and blocked two shots off the bench. Phil Cofer and MJ Walker tallied 11 points each. Cofer ripped down three boards and distributed three assists as well.
Battle paced Syracuse with 23 points on 8-of-15 from the floor. Hughes added 17 points. Brissett posted his second consecutive double-double with 16 points and 12 boards.
Syracuse is quite the team when it gets contributions throughout the rotation, but in their most recent losses, Howard and Chukwu have been non-existent. For example, Howard and Chukwu played major roles in wins at Duke and Pittsburgh, but combined for zero points in the blowout loss at home to Florida State. Battle and Hughes have played well, but the Orange will certainly need their seniors to step up down the stretch in ACC play if they plan on being on the right side of the bubble and making another deep run in the “Big Dance.”
Player of the Week: Oshae Brissett
With the key role the Elijah Hughes has played in support of Tyus Battle in the 2018-19 campaign, Brissett has seen his numbers take a hit from his freshman to his sophomore season. Make no mistake, Brissett is still a key cog in the Orange machine. The Canadian product is averaging 13.7 points, on 40.5 shooting, and 7.8 rebounds per game this season and has recorded double-doubles in his last two games. He may need to continue to play like that if Howard and Chukwu are unable to produce down the stretch for Syracuse to have a chance a making a deep postseason run.
Up Next: Boston College and the Road Ahead
The Orange will host Boston College in the second meeting between the two schools this season. Tip-off inside the Carrier Dome is set for 2pm. The Eagles are 11-10 overall, 2-7 in league play and are coming off an 80-55 loss at Duke Tuesday night. Ky Bowman is one of the best players in the conference and has had stellar performances against Syracuse in the past. Bowman leads Boston College scoring 20.3 points, grabbing 7.8 rebounds, and dishing out 3.7 assists per contest.
After hosting Boston College, the Orange will play four of their last seven games against ranked opponents (home against Louisville, Duke, Virginia, and at North Carolina), while also traveling to North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Clemson. Syracuse has positioned themselves well in the ACC standings as of right now, but there are tests still left to pass if the Orange prefer not having to sweat it out on Selection Sunday yet again.
Siena enters February as winners of four of their last five and have put themselves in position to contend for a bye in next month’s MAAC Tournament.
After beating Niagara, the Saints traveled to Bridgeport, Connecticut last Thursday to take on the Fairfield Stags. Siena took a 29-24 lead into the break after holding the Stags to 26.7-percent shooting in the first twenty minutes. Fairfield pulled to within six, 38-32, on a layup by Jesus Cruz with 10:47 remaining in the game. The Saints used a 7-2 run to pull away and earn a 57-48 win on the road in conference play.
Siena’s defense was stout throughout the contest and held the Stags to 35.7-percent from the field and 17.4-percent from three. The Saints also forced Fairfield into 18 turnovers. Siena buried the Stags by shooting 42.6-percent to earn the win.
Wassef Methnani came off the bench to lead Fairfield with 15 points, on 6-of-10 from the floor, five rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.
Jalen Pickett paced the Saints with 20 points, on 8-of-10 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, and four steals. Evan Fisher chipped in with 11 points and six boards.
Siena extended their win streak to three with a 53-40 victory over Manhattan last Saturday night in front of a season record 7,146 fans in attendance at the Times Union Center. The Saints took a 23-17 advantage into intermission as their defense was stout yet again in the first half—holding the Jaspers to a just 30-percent from the field in the opening stanza. Siena shot a blistering 56.5-percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes and used a 15-6 spurt midway through the second half to earn the win.
The Saints held Manhattan to 36.6-percent shooting and forced the Jaspers into 15 turnovers as their defense continued to puzzle opponents. Siena shot 46.9-perent from the field and held a 13-2 advantage in points off turnovers in the victory.
Tyler Reynolds led Manhattan with 12 points and four rebounds and was the only Jasper to score in double figures in the game.
Pickett was the lone Saint in double figures as he scored 18 points, on 8-of-14 from the floor, and grabbed five boards.
Siena looked to extend their win streak to four when they traveled to the Jersey Shore to battle with the Monmouth Hawks. The Saints were looking to avenge a 63-60 overtime loss to Monmouth on January 14th at home. Siena raced out to a 27-13 lead, but the Hawks used a 21-0 run to close the first half and open the second twenty minutes to take a 34-27 advantage. Sloan Seymour stopped the bleeding with a triple with 17:31 left in the contest. The Saints tied the game at 46 with 8:07 to go. Siena trailed 53-52 with 4:51 to play, but Monmouth closed the game on a 13-3 spurt to claim a 66-55 win.
The Hawks shot 47.6-percent from the field and held the Saints to a 36.4-percent clip. Monmouth outrebounded Siena 34-28 and forced the visitors into 14 turnovers.
Deion Hammond led the Hawks with 16 points and four rebounds in the win.
Seymour paced the Saints with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc. Fisher added 14 points and three boards, while Pickett finished with 11 points, four rebounds, and five assists in the losing effort.
Siena looked to get back above .500 in conference play when they traveled to New Rochelle, New York to square off against Iona in a clash between MAAC rivals in a Saturday matinee. The Saints took a 27-26 lead into halftime. After falling behind 46-39 with 9:05 remaining in the game, Siena rattled off a 15-0 run, capped off by a free throw by Manny Camper, to gain a 54-46 with 3:24 to go. The Gaels would not go away easily and pulled to within two as Ricky McGill converted a free throw with 15 ticks on the clock. McGill stole Fisher’s inbound pass, but Iona missed four consecutive shots and Siena held on for a 56-54 victory on the road.
The Saints shot 41.2-percent from the field and held the Gaels to 36-percent shooting. Siena also outrebounded Iona 34-32 to emerge victorious.
EJ Crawford tallied a game-high 19 points, on 6-of-11 from the floor, and four rebounds to pace the Gaels.
Pickett poured in all 17 of his points in the second half to lead the Saints. Fisher contributed with 12 points, on 5-of-11 shooting, and five rebounds in the win.
Siena is 10-12 overall, 5-4 in league play, and sits in a tie with Quinnipiac for fourth place in the MAAC. The Saints can taste a first round bye in the MAAC Tournament as they enter the first full week of February.
Player of the Week: Jalen Pickett
This week’s player of the week for Siena is Jalen Pickett. Pickett has emerged as the best freshman in the conference and has claimed the MAAC Rookie of the Week Award seven times this season, including each of the last five weeks. Over the past four games, he has averaged 16.5 points, on 50-percent shooting, 3.8 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. After being picked to finish last in the conference, the Saints are making noise near the top of the standings, and Pickett is a major reason why.
Up Next: Fairfield, Manhattan, and Rider
Siena concludes a stretch of three games in five days when they host Fairfield Monday night. Tip-off is set for 7pm. The Saints will look to sweep the season series from the Stags. Fairfield is now 7-16 on the season, 4-7 in the MAAC, and is coming off a 57-52 win at Marist on Saturday. The Stags are led by Landon Taliaferro who is averaging 12 points per contest.
Siena travels to Draddy Gymnasium to face Manhattan on Friday night. Tip-off is set for 7pm. The Saints will look to sweep the season series from the Jaspers. Manhattan is tied for seventh in the conference with Niagara with an overall record of 6-16 and 4-6 in the MAAC. The Jaspers are coming off a 64-50 victory over St. Peter’s on Saturday. Manhattan will host Rider before Siena comes into town. The Jaspers are led by Warren Williams who is averaging 8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
The Saints will travel to Lawrenceville, New Jersey for a meeting with the Rider Broncs next Sunday. Tip-off is set for 2pm. This will be the lone regular season meeting between the two schools this season. Rider stands atop the MAAC at 12-9 overall, 7-2 in the league, and is coming off a 75-71 loss at Monmouth on Saturday. The Broncs will play at Manhattan and home against Canisius before tipping off against Siena next Sunday. Rider is led by Frederick Scott who is averaging 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.
Syracuse Follows Up Win over Top-Ranked Duke with Triumph over Pitt
Syracuse avoided a letdown with a win over Pittsburgh at home on Saturday afternoon.
The Orange gained a 28-16 lead on a jumper by Tyus Battle with 2:37 remaining in the first half. The Panthers responded with a 9-0 spurt to close the halftime margin to 28-25 in favor of Syracuse. The Orange pulled away as they opened the second stanza with a 22-6 run capped off with a dunk by Battle with 9:46 left to take a 50-31 lead. Syracuse hung on to score a 74-63 victory over their former Big East rival.
The Orange shot 46.3-percent from the field, 46.2-percent from three and held Pittsburgh 33.8-percent from the field and 31.4-percent from deep. Syracuse’s 2-3 zone perplexed the Panthers and forced them into 17 turnovers.
Jared Wilson-Frame led Pittsburgh with 19 points, on 7-of-15 shooting, and eight rebounds. Xavier Johnson chipped in with 17 points, on 6-of-11 from the field, seven rebounds, and three assists.
Battle paced the Orange with 22 points, on 9-of-17 from the floor, and three rebounds. Buddy Boeheim poured in a career-high 13 points on 4-of-5 from three-point land. Oshae Brissett added 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Frank Howard scored 10 points and dished out five assists. Paschal Chukwu tallied six points and pulled down 11 boards. Elijah Hughes dropped in eight points, while Marek Dolezaj stuffed the stat sheet with four points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Syracuse fans braved winter storm Harper and came out in a flurry as the 24,466 in attendance was the largest crowd in college basketball this season.
With the win, the Orange improved to 13-5 overall and tied for first in the ACC with a 4-1 record in conference play.
Player of the Week: Tyus Battle
Tyus Battle earned many accolades for his play this week, including NCAA Player of the Week, Naismith Player of the Week, and ACC Player of the Week. The junior guard averaged 27 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3 assists in wins over Duke and Pittsburgh. Battle now leads all active ACC players in scoring. If Syracuse plans to stay atop the ACC, Battle will need to continue to perform at an All-ACC level.
Up Next: Miami and Virginia Tech
Syracuse returns to action when they face Miami on Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 8pm. The Hurricanes are 9-8 on the season, 1-4 in league play, and are coming off an 85-76 loss to #13 North Carolina on Saturday. Miami is led by Chris Lykes who is averaging 18.1 points and 3.7 assists per game. Last year, the Orange won the lone meeting between the two schools, 62-55, in Coral Gables, Florida.
Syracuse travels to Blacksburg to square off against the tenth-ranked Virginia Tech Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 8pm. The Hokies are 15-2 overall, 4-1 in the ACC, tied with the Orange for first place, and are coming off an 103-82 loss to #11 North Carolina on Monday night. Virginia Tech is led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker who is averaging 18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per contest. Last season, Syracuse defeated the Hokies 68-56 in the only meeting between the two schools on New Year’s Eve.