Saints Stumble Heading into Christmas Break
After a long break for final exams, the Siena Saints returned to the court for games against the College of Charleston and Holy Cross.
On Tuesday, the Siena welcomed the College of Charleston to the Times Union Center. After a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes, the Cougars took a 33-28 lead into the break. The College of Charleston put the Saints in their rear-view mirror as they used a 16-4 run to establish a commanding lead that they would not relinquish. The Cougars shot a blistering 66.7-percent in the second half to roll to an 83-58 win.
The College of Charleston shot 61.5-percent from the floor and outrebounded Siena 33-24. The Cougars held the Saints to just 38.9-percent from the field to earn the win.
Preseason All-CAA first team selection, Jarrell Brantley, led the College of Charleston with 23 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting, all of which came in the final stanza. Brantley also corralled five rebounds and dished out three assists.
Evan Fisher returned to the starting lineup for Siena after he missed two games with a lower body injury. The senior forward led Siena with 18 points, on 7-of-14 from the field, and seven rebounds.
The Saints traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts for a rematch against the Holy Cross Crusaders, who beat them, 57-45, in the Hall of Fame Classic in November.
Siena took a 31-26 lead into the locker room following a 16-3 run to close the half.
The Saints took a 10 point lead, 47-37, on a three-pointer by Sloan Seymour. Holy Cross, who shot 61.9-percent in the second half, ripped-off a 17-2 run and took a 54-49 lead on a jumped by Austin Butler with 6:39 remaining in the game. Siena refused to go away and regained a one point advantage (57-56) on a corner triple by Kevin Degnan with 2:17 left. Butler’s layup with 1:15 to go gave the Crusaders the lead for good. Caleb Green made a layup with 23 ticks on the clock to provide the final margin of 60-57. After missing a free throw, Jalen Pickett got the rebound tapped back to him, but misfired on a potential game-tying three-point attempt at the buzzer and Holy Cross defeated the Saints for the second time this season. Siena enters the holiday break after losing two consecutive games, giving them a 4-8 record.
The Crusaders shot 54.3-percent from the floor and held Siena to a 42.6-percent clip.
Butler led Holy Cross with 18 points, on 7-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-8 from deep, and five rebounds.
Fisher led the Saints with 17 points, on 8-of-14 from the floor, and nine rebounds. Pickett scored 14 points, on 6-of-13 shooting, pulled down four boards, and distributed eight assists. Jimmy Ratliff added 11 points off the bench.
Siena lost junior forward Sammy Friday for the rest of the season due to a lower body injury.
Player of the Week: Evan Fisher
This week’s player of the week for Siena was Evan Fisher. The senior forward returned to the lineup this week after sitting out against St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris with a lower body injury. Fisher averaged 17.5 points, eight rebounds and shot 53.6-percent from the field. It is clear that the Saints are a better team with Fisher on the floor. His play will be an integral factor if Siena plans to compete in the MAAC.
Up Next: Cal Poly
The Saints will look to snap their two game skid when they return home after Christmas to take on Cal Poly next Saturday in the non-conference finale. Tip-off is set for 2pm. The Mustangs are 3-8 and are coming off a 75-70 loss to the University of Texas at Arlington on Saturday. Cal Poly is led by Donovan Fields who is averaging 16.2 points and 3.9 assists per game.