The Sunday Saint (11/25)

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.

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The Daily Gazette

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

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Times Union

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.

The Sunday Saint (11/18)

Saints Fall in Championship Game of Hall of Fame Classic

NCAA Basketball: Siena at Providence
GetMoreSports

The Saints took part in the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Classic presented by Citi at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT this weekend. Siena defeated Norfolk State 61-58 Friday night and advanced to the championship game where they lost to Holy Cross 57-45.

The freshman duo of Sloan Seymour and Jalen Pickett powered the Saints to a 61-58 victory Friday night over Norfolk State. Seymour led Siena with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting (4-of-9 from three), while Pickett finished with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Evan Fisher chipped in with 13 points in the victory. The Saints poured in 10+ three pointers for the third game in a row, further differentiating the coaching style of Coach Jamion Christian from his predecessor Jimmy Patsos.

Siena was unable to capture the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Classic trophy as they fell 57-45 to Holy Cross in Sunday morning’s championship game. Fisher led the way for the Saints with 14 points, on 7-of-14 from the field, and seven rebounds. Siena connected on less than 10 threes for the first time this season and suffered their second loss of the 2018-19 campaign.

Player of the Week: Evan Fisher

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The Daily Gazette

Evan Fisher was this week’s player of the week for Siena. The senior averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and shot 12-for-22 in the two games in the Hall of Fame Classic. The Saints will look for Fisher to be a stabilizing force on the interior and provide senior leadership as they continue to move through their season.

Up Next: Lehigh Mountain Hawks and Colgate Raiders

The Saints open their home slate on Wednesday against Lehigh. Tip off at the Times Union Center is set for 6pm. The Mountain Hawks are 3-1 and are led by Pat Andree who is averaging 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Last year Siena lost a nail-biter, 91-90, in overtime at Lehigh.

Siena hosts Colgate on Saturday. Tip off at the Times Union Center is set for 2pm. Jordan Burns leads the Raiders, who are off to a 3-1 start. The sophomore guard is averaging 18 points and five assists per contest.

Siena at Lehigh

Siena Loses their Third Straight to Start the Year in Heartbreaking Fashion on the Road

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Times Union

Siena lost its second overtime game on the road falling 91-90 to the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Friday night. The overtime classic featured 14 ties and 15 lead changes and kept the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout. Ahsante Shivers missed a key free throw with under 10 seconds left in regulation to allow Kyle Leufroy to drive down the floor and hit a jumper in the lane to send the game to overtime tied at 80. Ed Porter missed two free throws with 3.4 seconds left in overtime to give the Saints a chance to win it, but Nico Clareth’s shot was too late and the Mountain Hawks hung on to win a nail-biter at home.

Siena, now 0-3, had its best offensive game of the season, shooting 49.3% from the floor, however, the offense was stymied in the overtime session, as the Saints made only one field goal in the final five minutes of the game. Defensively, the Saints switched from a 2-3 zone, to man-to-man, and even showed some 1-3-1 to try and confuse the hosts in the up-and-down affair. The Mountain Hawks converted 46.2% of their field goals for the game.

Nico Clareth led the way for the Siena offensive attack with 30 points on 11-for-22 shooting, making 6-of-14 from 3, and sunk both of his free throw attempts. Clareth added 5 rebounds as well. Ahsante Shivers turned in his best game of his young season as he scored 16 points and grabbed 5 rebounds after coming off the bench. Kadeem Smithen ran the point all night for the Saints and chipped in with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Khalil Richard contributed 10 points to round out the double-figure scorers for the Saints.

Freshman Prince Oduro and Roman Penn played big minutes off the bench as Oduro finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds and Penn added 9 points of his own.

One thing to note is that Siena Coach Jimmy Patsos elected to go with a five guard lineup (Penn, Richard, Smithen, Shivers, and Clareth) late in the second half, rather than giving minutes to Sammy Friday or Kevin Degnan, neither of whom played in the loss. The lineup kept the Saints in it defensively and the unit looked good on the offensive end. I doubt this is an experiment that Coach Patsos will continue to test in the future, but he could get away with it due to Lehigh’s lack of depth in the front court.

The Saints will look to build off of Friday’s performance as they continue their Pennsylvania road trip with a meeting against defending Patriot League champion Bucknell on Monday. Tip time is scheduled for 7pm.