The Sunday Saint (3/10)

MAAC Tournament Recap: Siena

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Siena College Athletics

Siena entered the MAAC Tournament as the five-seed and took on fourth-seeded Rider in the quarterfinals on Saturday night. The Saints raced out to a 19-12 lead following a jumper by Jalen Pickett with 11:42 left in the first half. With the score knotted at 27, Frederick Scott’s layup gave the Broncs a two point advantage. Sloan Seymour knocked down a three-pointer to give Siena a 30-29 lead entering the break. The second stanza was a back-and-forth affair, but the Saints used a decisive 13-1 run, capped off by a layup by Kevin Degnan, to take a 77-66 advantage with 1:27 to go. Siena sunk their foul shots down the stretch and hung on to win 87-81.

Siena scored a season-high 57 points in the second half and shot a blistering 81-percent from the field in the final twenty minutes. Rider held a 44-22 edge in points in the paint and 27-3 on second chance points, but the Saints outscored the Broncs 36-21 from three-point range. For the game, Siena shot 65.1-percent from the floor and held Rider to 46.3-percent shooting. The Saints connected on 12-of-21 of their attempts from deep, while the Broncs converted on just 7-of-23 of their shots from deep.

Rider was led by their big man, Tyere Marshall, who scored 22 points, on 10-of-15 from the field, eight rebounds, and two blocks.

Siena’s balanced attack was paced by Evan Fisher’s 22 points, on 7-of-11 from the floor, and six rebounds. Pickett tallied 20 points, dished out six assists, blocked four shots, and came away with two steals. Seymour dropped career-highs of 18 points and six made threes. Degnan added 13 points and seven rebounds, while Kadeem Smithen chipped in with 11 points, three assists, and two steals off the bench.

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Times Union

Pickett recorded his 65th steal of his freshman campaign, which broke Marquis Wright’s freshman record set during the 2013-14 season.

Siena faced top-seeded and defending MAAC Tournament Champion Iona in the semifinals. The Gaels jumped out to an early 7-0 lead following a layup by Ben Perez with 18:20 remaining in the opening stanza. Smithen connected on back-to-back threes to pull the Saints within one, 7-6, with 16:50 to play before intermission. Iona led by as many as 16 in the first half, but Rickey McGill’s buzzer beater gave the Gaels a 35-22 advantage at the break. Siena never trailed by less than double-digits over the course of the final twenty minutes and Iona ended the Saints’ season, handing them a 73-57 defeat.

For the fourth time in the last five years, Iona defeated Siena in the MAAC Tournament.

Iona, being the one-seed, had an extra day of rest between the quarterfinals and the semifinals. The Gaels looked well-rested, while Siena came out noticeably flat. Iona shot 49.1-percent from the field, including 9-0f-20 from three. The Gaels held the Saints to 37.3-percent from the floor. Siena converted on just       8-of-28 of their attempts from deep.

Iona was led by Asante Gist who finished with 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting.

Pickett and Fisher led the Saints scoring 15 points apiece. Pickett pulled down seven rebounds and dished out eight assists, while Fisher grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots. Fisher was ejected after picking up his second technical foul with 2:48 to go. The senior left the Times Union Center for the final time and waived to the crowd as the student section chanted his name.

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Siena closed out their first season under head coach Jamion Christian with a record of 17-16, a nine-win improvement from last year’s disaster under former head coach Jimmy Patsos. In the season-ending loss to Iona, the Saints set the single-season record for three-pointers made in program history with 284.

Next year, the Saints will be without the services of seniors Kevin Degnan, Kadeem Smithen, Braedon Bayer, Paulo Morastoni, and Second Team All-MAAC selection Evan Fisher.

Two key returners to next season’s team are MAAC Rookie of the Year and First Team All-MAAC performer, Jalen Pickett, and MAAC Rookie Team Selection Sloan Seymour.

The Sunday Saint (3/3)

Siena Secures First Round Bye

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Siena College Athletics

Siena traveled to Western New York this weekend to finish out their regular season slate with games at Canisius and Niagara.

The Saints looked to split the season series in a pivotal MAAC matchup with Canisius Friday night. The Golden Griffins defeated Siena, 70-66, in Albany on January 5th. Following a hotly contested first half, the Saints took a 32-28 lead into the break. Siena took a 48-38 advantage on a layup by Manny Camper with 11:11 left. After that point, Canisius took control and outscored Siena 30-14 to pull away for a 68-62 win.

The Golden Griffins shot 46.6-percent from the field and only turned the ball over three times. Siena shot at a 40.6-percent clip and turned it over eight times.

Takal Molson led Canisius with 16 points, on 7-of-19 shooting, nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Evan Fisher paced the Saints with 17 points, on 8-of-16 from the field, seven rebounds, two assists, and a steal in the losing effort. Kevin Degnan and Sloan Seymour tallied 12 points apiece. Degnan also grabbed seven rebounds. Jalen Pickett stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, a block, and a steal.

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Times Union

Siena needed a win over Niagara in their final regular season contest to clinch a first round bye in next weekend’s MAAC Tournament. With the game tied at 14, the Purple Eagles used an 8-0 run, capped off by a jumper by Marvin Prochet, to open up a 22-14 lead with 5:27 remaining in the first stanza. The Saints pulled to within three, 27-24, at intermission. Niagara built an eight point advantage in the second half, when Chris Barton converted a free throw with 12:58 to go. Siena would not go away easily. Kadeem Smithen converted an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Saints a five point lead, 52-47, with 3:21 to play. Pickett converted two free throws, to give Siena a 56-53 advantage with 32 ticks on the clock. Prochet nailed a triple with 16 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 56. Pickett’s step-back jumped at the buzzer fell off the rim and the long-time MAAC foes were headed to overtime.

The Saints controlled the opening tip of the overtime period and Fisher converted a layup just 24 seconds in to give Siena a lead that they would not relinquish. The Saints converted their free throws down the stretch and emerged with a 72-65 victory.

Siena came away victorious despite shooting just 36.1-percent from the field. The Purple Eagles shot at a 41.4-percent clip, but the Saints’ defense forced Niagara into 14 turnovers.

Prochet poured in 21 points, on 8-of-19 from the floor, and added six rebounds, eight assists, two blocks, and three steals to lead the Purple Eagles.

Pickett led the Saints with 27 points, six rebounds, eight assists, two blocks, and three steals. Fisher posted a double-double with 15 points, on 6-of-13 shooting, and 10 rebounds. Degnan finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

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With the win, Siena finished the regular season with an overall record of 16-15, 11-7 in the MAAC, and part of a four-way tie for second in the league with Canisius, Quinnipiac, and Rider. The Saints will have the fifth seed in next weekend’s MAAC Tournament and will take on the fourth seeded Rider Broncs.

Player of the Week: Jalen Pickett

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The Daily Gazette

This week’s player of the week for Siena was Jalen Pickett. Siena’s resurgence under first-year head coach Jamion Christian was largely due to the play of freshman stud Jalen Pickett. This past week, Pickett averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists per game. The Rochester, New York native will likely win his MAAC-record 11th Rookie of the Week Honor this week and will probably be named the conference’s Rookie of the Year later this week as well. Pickett will need to be sharp if the Saints hope to cut down the nets a week from Monday and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010.

Up Next: The MAAC Tournament vs. #4 Rider

Fifth-seeded Siena will square off against the fourth-seeded Rider Broncs in the quarterfinals of the MAAC Tournament on Saturday night at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York. Tip-off is set for 9:30pm. The Saints defeated Rider, 59-57, on February 10th in the lone meeting between the two teams in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. The Broncs are 16-14 overall, 11-7 in the MAAC, and are coming off a 75-64 win over Marist. Rider is led by Stevie Jordan who is averaging 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per contest.

The Sunday Saint (2/24)

Siena Surging Toward the Top of the MAAC

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Times Union

After dropping consecutive home games against Iona and Quinnipiac, Siena took care of business by defeating St. Peter’s and Marist at the Times Union Center this week.

The Saints used a 19-4 run, capped off by a triple by Sloan Seymour with 2:37 remaining in the opening stanza, to build a 28-13 lead. Siena entered halftime with a 33-21 advantage. St. Peter’s responded after the break and trimmed the Saints’ lead to seven, 55-48, with 7:18 left. The Peacocks wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the way and Siena claimed a 72-62 victory.

St. Peter’s shot 52.2-percent from the field and held the Saints to a 44.9-percent clip. The Peacocks also outrebounded Siena 31-23. However, the Saints won the game by taking care of the ball and shooting it well from beyond the arc. Siena forced St. Peter’s into 15 turnovers. The Saints only turned the ball over four times against the Peacocks. Siena connected on 10-of-22 of their attempts from distance, compared to St. Peter’s who shot just 3-of-9 from three-point land.

Davauhnte Turner led the Peacocks with 16 points on 6-of-12 from the field.

Evan Fisher paced the Saints with 21 points on 7-of-13 from the floor. Reigning National Freshman of the Week, Jalen Pickett, stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points, four rebounds, nine assists, and two steals. Seymour finished with 12 points on 3-of-7 from deep.

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Seymour broke Siena’s freshman record for three-pointers made in a season, breaking Scott Knapp’s previous record of 76 made threes in the 1997-98 campaign. Thus far, Seymour has connected on 80 threes this season.

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Times Union

The Saints looked to take down arch rival Marist in a Sunday matinee in Albany. The Red Foxes raced out to a 17-6 lead following a free throw by Brian Parker with 13:05 to play in the first half. Siena stormed back and used an 11-0 run, capped off by a three-pointer by Kevin Degnan, to tie the score at 17 with 9:49 to go before intermission. Fisher beat the buzzer for a layup and the Saints took a 31-28 advantage into the break. Leading 37-35, Siena ripped off a 15-2 spurt, capped off by a trey by Degnan, to take a 52-37 lead with 12:54 remaining. Marist pulled to within seven, 56-49, on a layup by Ryan Funk with 5:14 left. The Saints outscored the Red Foxes 11-6 down the stretch to earn a 67-55 win on Senior Day.

Siena held Marist to just 36.2-percent shooting, including 2-of-17 from three-point range, while the Saints shot it at a 50-percent clip and connected on 9-of-28 attempts from behind the three-point line.

Parker led the Red Foxes with 15 points, four rebounds, six assists, and four steals.

Degnan paced Siena with a career-high 25 points, on 8-of-12 shooting, including 6-of-9 from deep, six rebounds, and two blocks. Fisher added 16 points, on 7-of-12 from the field, four assists, and two blocks. Pickett recorded a double-double off the bench with 11 points and 10 assists. The freshman guard finished with eight rebounds as well, just two boards away from a triple-double. Kadeem Smithen tallied nine points.

With two games still remaining in the regular season, Pickett became Siena’s all-time leading freshman scorer. To date, the nine-time MAAC Rookie of the Week has scored 448 points this season.

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The Stepien

Siena honored their senior class, Fisher, Degnan, Kadeem Smithen, Braedon Bayer, and Paulo Morastoni, prior to the game.

With the win, the Saints improved to 15-14 overall, 10-6 in the MAAC, and are now in a four-way tie for second place with Quinnipiac, Canisius, and Rider. Iona sits alone atop the conference with a half-game lead over the four schools tied for second.

Player of the Week: Kevin Degnan

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The Daily Gazette

Despite outstanding efforts from multiple players, this week’s player of the week for Siena was Kevin Degnan. The senior big man averaged 16 points, on 55-percent shooting, including 53.8-percent from three, and six rebounds in the Saints’ two wins this week. With two games left in the regular season, Siena has an opportunity to set themselves up for a deep run in the MAAC Tournament. Degnan will need to play an integral role if Siena, who was picked to finish dead last in the MAAC in the preseason, wants to cut down the nets and advance to the “Big Dance.”

Up Next: Canisius and Niagara

The Saints close out the regular season with the Buffalo trip when they face Canisius and Niagara on the road next weekend.

Siena has a pivotal matchup with Canisius on Friday night. The game will be broadcasted nationally on ESPNU at 9pm. The Saints will look to avenge an earlier loss to the Golden Griffins and earn a split of the season series. Canisius defeated Siena 70-66 on January 5th. The Golden Griffins are 13-15 overall, 10-6 in the MAAC and are coming off an 87-80 loss to Iona. Canisius will take on Niagara on Wednesday before they host the Saints. The Golden Griffins are led by Takal Molson who is averaging 16.5 points, five rebounds, and two assists per game.

Siena will finish the regular season next Sunday afternoon at Niagara. Tip-off is set for 2pm. The Saints will look to sweep the season series from the Purple Eagles. Siena defeated the Niagara, 66-57, at the Times Union Center on January 17th. The Purple Eagles are 12-17 overall, 5-11 in the league, and are coming off a 78-60 loss to St. Peter’s. Niagara will battle with cross-town rival Canisius before they host the Saints. The Purple Eagles are led by Marvin Prochet who is averaging 16.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest.

Siena will earn a share of the MAAC regular season title if they sweep the Buffalo trip. The Saints will clinch a first round bye in the MAAC Tournament if they win at least one game next weekend. We will find out next Sunday as to what seed the Saints will earn in the MAAC Tournament.

The Sunday Saint (2/17)

Siena Slips in the MAAC Standings

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Siena College Athletics

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.

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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.

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Times Union

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

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Pikbee

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.

The Sunday Saint (2/10)

Saints Marching through MAAC Play

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The Daily Gazette

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.

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The Daily Gazette

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

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The Daily Gazette

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 Sunday Saint (2/3)

Siena Challenging in the MAAC

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The Daily Gazette

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.

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Times Union

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

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Times Union

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.

The Sunday Saint (1/20)

Siena Splits Home Stand

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Siena College Athletics

The Siena Saints were two free throws away from a three game win streak, but settled with splitting a pair of contests at home last week against Monmouth and Niagara.

Siena looked to begin a win streak when they hosted Monmouth Monday night. The Hawks have had a down year thus far, but have really hit their stride in conference play. The Saints opened up a 20-10 lead, thanks to four early triples by Jalen Pickett. Monmouth closed the first half with a 12-0 run and took a 34-27 lead into intermission. The Hawks continued the run as they took a 41-29 lead with 17:04 left on a free throw by Ray Salnave. Siena responded and went on a 15-0 spurt of their own to earn a 44-41 advantage with 11:08 remaining. In a back-and-forth affair, Deion Hammond nailed a three to give Monmouth a 55-54 lead with 1:36 to go. Salnave connected on a pair of free throws to build a 57-54 advantage with 26.4 to play, but the Saints refused to go away. Sloan Seymour sent the game to overtime as he drilled a trey with 6.8 ticks on the clock. With Siena trailing the Hawks by one, 61-60, Evan Fisher stepped to the charity stripe with 8.5 seconds left in overtime with hopes of giving the Saints the lead. Fisher missed both free throws and Samuel Chaput put the game away with a two free throws at the other end to send Monmouth home with a 63-60 overtime win.

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The Daily Gazette

Hammond led the Hawks with 16 points, on 6-of-12 shooting, and three rebounds.

Kevin Degnan paced Siena with 17 points, on 5-of-7 from the field, and seven boards. Pickett stuffed the stat sheet for the Saints with 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks. Fisher finished with 12 points and four boards.

Siena looked to rebound from their heartbreaking loss to Monmouth when they took on the Niagara Purple Eagles on Thursday night at the Times Union Center. Niagara jumped out to an early 12-2 lead. The Saints outscored the Purple Eagles 29-12 the rest of the first half to take a 31-24 advantage into the break. Siena pulled away with a 14-2 run capped off by a jumper by Degnan to take a 55-35 lead with 7:06 remaining in the game. The Saints hung on to earn a 66-57 victory.

James Towns led Niagara with 21 points, on 8-of-13 from the floor, and four rebounds.

Pickett paced the Saints with 17 points, on 5-of-11 shooting, four boards, on seven assists. Fisher added 13 points, on 6-of-12 from the field, six rebounds, and three assists. Kadeem Smithen provided a spark off the bench for Siena as he tallied 13 points on 5-of-9 from the floor.

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Times Union

With the win, the Saints improved to 7-11 overall and 2-3 in the MAAC.

Player of the Week: Kadeem Smithen

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The Daily Gazette

Although Pickett and Fisher continue to be leaders for Siena on the court, this week’s player of the week for the Saints was Kadeem Smithen. The senior guard had yet to break out this year, but he came off the bench against Niagara and was just what the doctor ordered for first-year coach Jamion Christian. Smithen has always been a solid defender, but rarely gets it going offensively. Siena could use Smithen as a viable option off the bench as MAAC play continues.

Up Next: Fairfield and Manhattan

The Saints will travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the Fairfield Stags on Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 7pm. Fairfield is 5-14 on the season, 2-5 in conference, and are coming off a 73-68 loss to Canisius on Saturday. The Stags are led by Landon Taliaferro who is averaging 12.5 points per game. Last year, Fairfield swept the season series from Siena.

The Saints will return home on Saturday night when they square off against the Manhattan Jaspers. Tip-off is set for 7pm. Manhattan is 4-14 overall, 2-4 in the MAAC, and are coming off a 60-47 loss to Rider on Saturday. The Jaspers host Marist on Monday night before they travel to Albany to battle with Siena. Manhattan is led by Pauly Paulicap who is averaging 8.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest. Last season, the Jaspers swept the season series from the Saints.