The Sunday Saint (12/9)

Saint Split a Pair on the Road

kdrmu
sienasaints.com

Siena went to 4-6 this season after splitting a pair of contests on the road against St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris.

The Saints were clobbered by the Bonnies in the 2018 edition of the Franciscan Cup on Wednesday night. St. Bonaventure took control of the game with a 22-3 run to end the opening stanza to take a 42-16 lead into the break. Although Siena trimmed the Bonnies lead to 22 (55-33) on a three-pointer by Jimmy Ratliff with 11:59 remaining, St. Bonaventure never relinquished the lead they built in the first half. The Bonnies ended the game on a 26-7 spurt to secure the Franciscan Cup for the third time in as many years.

St. Bonaventure put on a clinic on both ends of the court. The Bonnies shot 55.9-percent from the field and held the Saints to 32.6-percent shooting and forced Siena into 15 turnovers.

St. Bonaventure was led by Nelson Kaputo who poured in 21 points off the bench.

Ratliff was the lone Saint in double figures. The North Alabama-transfer tallied 16 points off the bench and grabbed five rebounds.

The Saints played without senior forward Evan Fisher who left last Saturday’s game against Harvard with a lower body injury.

Siena looked to get back on the right track when they traveled to take on Robert Morris on Saturday.

The Saints took a 38-32 lead into halftime and built an 18 point advantage on a three-pointer by Sloan Seymour with 16:25 left. The Colonials were not done yet. Robert Morris used a 22-4 run to take a 67-65 lead with 4:26 to go. Jalen Pickett backed down his defender to tie the score at 71 with 41.7 ticks on the clock. Pickett missed the free throw that could have given Siena the lead. The Colonials’ Josh Williams missed a layup with 18 seconds remaining, giving the Saints the opportunity to win the contest on their final possession. The Saints did just that. Kevin Degnan nailed a triple with two seconds left to send Siena home with a 74-71 victory.

The Saints shot 50.9-percent from the floor and connected on 11-of-25 (44-percent) of their attempts from beyond the arc. Robert Morris shot 56.3-percent from the field, but only made six threes.

The Colonials were led by Williams who scored 19 points.

Siena was led by Pickett who netted 20 points, corralled seven boards, and dished out seven assists. Degnan, who hit the game-winning trey, added a career-high 19 points, on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-8 from deep, and seven rebounds. Manny Camper shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and finished with 14 points and four boards. Ratliff earned his first start of the season and recorded a solid performance with 10 points and four rebounds.

Fisher was out for the second consecutive game nursing a lower leg injury, while Sammy Friday IV also sat out against Robert Morris with a lower body injury. Ratliff and Degnan both stepped up in their absences.

Player of the Week: Jimmy Ratliff

jrrmu

Although Degnan hit the game-winner and Pickett led the Saints in scoring, the unsung hero of the week for Siena was Jimmy Ratliff. The red-shirt freshman walk-on had his two best games of the season thus far against St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris. Ratliff averaged 13 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-11 from distance, and 4.5 rebounds. Ratliff will need to continue to step up if Fisher and Friday IV are out for an extended period of time.

Up Next: College of Charleston and Holy Cross

The Saints have a long layoff before there next game. Siena will return to action next Tuesday, December 18 when they host the College of Charleston at the Times Union Center. Tip-off is set for 7pm. The Cougars are 7-2 and are coming off a 72-64 win over Charlotte. College of Charleston is led by Grant Riller who is averaging 21.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. Last year, the Cougars defeated the Saints 68-60 in overtime in Charleston.

Siena will have an opportunity to avenge their earlier loss to Holy Cross when they travel to Worcester, Massachusetts to battle with the Crusaders on Saturday, December 22 at noon. It is very unusual to play a non-conference opponent twice in a season, but this game was scheduled not knowing that the two teams were going to play each other in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Classic in November. Holy Cross is 6-4 and are coming off a 79-63 loss to Rhode Island. The Crusaders won the first meeting over the Saints 57-45. Jacob Grandison led Holy Cross to the win with 24 points and four assists, while Fisher led Siena with 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in the loss.

The Sunday Saint (12/2)

Saints Split a pair to Improve to 3-5

jph
sienasaints.com

Siena improved to 3-5 on the season this week after splitting a pair of contests against Hofstra and Harvard.

The Saints comeback fell just short on Long Island as they fell 94-86 to the Hofstra Pride Wednesday night. Hofstra sunk their first six attempts from beyond the arc and built a 45-37 lead at the break. The Pride jumped out to a 77-57 lead with 8:10 left in the game, but Siena would not go away easily. The Saints rattled off an 18-4 run that culminated with a three pointer by Sloan Seymour to pull with six (81-75) of Hofstra with 3:11 left. Siena was unable to get over the hump and the Pride escaped with the victory.

Hofstra, who shot 54.4-percent from the field and 46.7-percent from three, was led by one of the best players in mid-major college basketball, Justin Wright-Foreman. Wright-Foreman paced the Pride with 28 points.

The Saints shot 54.2-percent from the field, but connected on only 34.6-percent of their attempts from three point land. Reigning MAAC Rookie of the Week, Jalen Pickett, posted a double-double with 27 points, on 9-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-3 from deep, and 13 assists. The freshman point guard only turned the ball over once in the losing effort. He also grabbed five rebounds. Evan Fisher poured in a career-high 25 points, on 12-of-17 shooting, and pulled down seven boards. Seymour added 13 points, while Kevin Degnan finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

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Siena looked to end their four game losing streak against the Harvard Crimson in a Saturday matinee at the Times Union Center. The Saints used a 10-3 to take a 27-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. The 22 points Siena held Harvard to in the first 20 minutes were the fewest points the Saints have allowed in a half all season. Siena used a 9-4 run to take their largest lead of the game, 52-39, with 9:12 to go. The Crimson ended the game with a 12-5 spurt, but Justin Bassey missed a potential game tying three at the buzzer. The Saints emerged with a 67-64 victory, the first home win under first year head coach Jamion Christian.

Harvard shot 50-percent from the field, but the Crimson were clearly bothered by Siena’s defensive pressure. The Saints forced the Crimson into 15 turnovers. Bassey led the Harvard with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

Siena shot 44.6-percent from the field and 34.8-percent from distance in the win. The Saints were led by Degnan, who tallied career-highs with 16 points and three blocks. He also corralled four rebounds. Pickett chipped in with 14 points, four rebounds, and eight assists. Sammy Friday IV provided a spark off the bench with 10 points and three boards.

Evan Fisher left the game in the second half with what appeared to be an ankle injury and did not return. His status moving forward is yet to be determined.

Player of the Week: Kevin Degnan

kdh
Times Union

To keep things interesting and to not give the player of the week to Jalen Pickett for the third time in four weeks, this week’s player of the week for Siena is Kevin Degnan. Degnan averaged 13 points and six rebounds and was a key reason as to why the Saints pulled of the win over Harvard. If Degnan can provide a third option to Pickett and Fisher, Siena could really benefit, especially if Fisher’s injury is serious.

Up Next: St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris

The Saints begin a two game road trip when they look to win back the Franciscan Cup against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday at 7pm. The Bonnies are 3-5 and are coming off a 90-61 win over Delaware State on Saturday. St. Bonaventure is led by Jalen Poyser, who is averaging 16.5 points per game. Last year, the Bonnies defeated Siena 75-55 in Albany.

The second game of the road trip will be at Robert Morris on Saturday at 4pm. The Colonials are 4-4 on the season and are coming off an 82-69 loss at Drexel on Saturday. Robert Morris is led by Josh Williams who is averaging 12.3 points per game. Last season, the Saints defeated the Colonials 76-74 at the Times Union Center.

The Sunday Saint

Siena off to a 1-1 start in the Jamion Christian Era

jamion
Times Union

After a tumultuous offseason that saw Siena fire head coach Jimmy Patsos amid a scandal involving mistreatment of a team manager and many changes to the roster, the Saints opened the Jamion Christian Era this week. Christian had previously coached Mount Saint Mary’s to two NCAA Tournaments in six years. Coach Christian preaches defensive pressure and three point shooting as the cornerstones of his coaching philosophy. Saints fans saw both on display in the team’s first two games this week.

Siena, who was picked to finish last in the MAAC this season, opened their 2018-19 at Big East powerhouse Providence on Tuesday. The Saints pulled themselves within seven late, but ultimately fell 77-67 to the Friars. Providence coach Ed Cooley, who previously coached at Fairfield in the MAAC, made it clear in his postgame statements that he thought Siena would not finish last in the MAAC this year. Freshman forward Sloan Seymour led the way for the Saints as he tallied 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Senior forward Evan Fisher contributed with 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists in the losing effort. Siena held true to Coach Christian’s philosophy as the team made 12 three pointers and forced the Friars into 15 turnovers.

The Saints had a quick turnaround between its first two games as they traveled to the nation’s capital to take on George Washington Thursday night. Siena pulled away down the stretch to clinch a 69-61 win; the first victory under Christian. Freshman point guard Jalen Pickett stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Senior forward Kevin Degnan finished with 15 points and eight boards in the win. The Saints connected on 13-of-34 three point attempts, compared to George Washington, who shot just 8-of-18 from distance.

kevin
The Daily Gazette

Player of the Week: Jalen Pickett

This week’s player of the week for Siena was Jalen Pickett. The freshman has been tasked with quarterbacking the offensive attack for the Saints and has led the team in scoring at 13 points per contest. Most importantly, he has dished out 15 assists and only turned the ball over three times over the course of the first two games. Siena will rely on Pickett to shoulder a bulk of the ball-handling duties this season and has shown that he is up for the task thus far.

Jalen_p
The Daily Gazette

Up next: Norfolk State and Holy Cross/Stony Brook

Siena will take part in the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Classic presented by Citi at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut this weekend. The Saints will face Norfolk State in the first round Friday night at 8:30pm., followed by either the championship or consolation against either Holy Cross or Stony Brook.

The Norfolk State Spartans are 2-1 overall and will play at South Carolina on Tuesday night before they battle with the Saints. Norfolk State is led by Nic Thomas who is averaging 13.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Holy Cross is 1-1 on the season and will play at Providence before they meet with Stony Brook Friday night. The Crusaders are led by Austin Butler who is averaging 14 points and 3.5 boards per contest. If Siena and Holy Cross play each other this weekend, they will face each other for a second time, as the Saints are at the Crusaders December 22.

Stony Brook is 2-0 on the season with wins over George Washington and South Carolina and will square off against Holy Cross on Friday at 6pm. The Seawolves are led by Akwasi Yeboah who is averaging 18 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Siena at Bryant

Siena Rolls Past Bryant on the Road

penn bryant
fuchsundpeer.com

Siena cruised past Bryant, 87-68, to pick up its first road win of the season. The Saints, despite being in early foul trouble, dominated the Bulldogs from the tip to the final buzzer.

Siena held Bryant to 43% shooting from the field and just 39% from behind the arc, while they shot 52% from the field and 48% from distance. The Saints outrebounded the Bulldogs 42-21, including a 16-5 margin on the offensive glass.

The Saints were led by freshman point guard Roman Penn who scored 19 points, corralled 9 rebounds, dished out 4 assists, grabbed 3 steals, and committed just 2 turnovers. Junior Captain Nico Clareth came off the bench and finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists before he fouled out.

Jordan Horn poured in 12 points and Khalil Richard had a 10 point and 3 assist performance, while Kadeem Smithen also contributed 7 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Evan Fisher added 6 points and 9 rebounds and Christian Bentley scored 7 points.

Sebastian Townes led the way for Bryant with 19 points.

Siena returns to action on Wednesday, December 20, when they travel to Memphis to take on the Tigers at FedExForum. Tip-off is set for 8pm.

Robert Morris at Siena

Siena Holds on to Capture its Second Win of the Season

123016_siena
Times Union

Siena escaped with a 76-74 win, despite a late run from Robert Morris, to improve to 2-5 on the season. Siena dominated the first 38 minutes of the game and opened up a 16 point lead in the second half. The two teams combined to score 33 points in the final two minutes as Robert Morris shot 6-for-7 from behind the arc in that span. Siena, which prior to yesterday’s game had shot just 64.6% from the free throw line on the year, made clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. The Saints connected on 22-of-27 (81.5%) of their attempts from the charity stripe for the game.

Aside from the last two minutes, Siena played well defensively and held the Colonials to just 35% shooting in the first 38 minutes. The Saints blocked 5 shots, came away with 5 steals, and outrebounded Robert Morris 41-34. The Saints took advantage on the offensive end, grabbing 9 offensive rebounds, compared to just 2 for the Colonials.

Offensively, Siena shot 48.1% from the floor and had a balanced attack putting four players in double figures. The Saints were led by junior captain Nico Clareth who scored 20 points and corralled 4 rebounds off the bench. Ahsante Shivers continued his aggressive play on the offensive end as he poured in 16 points and added 4 rebounds.

Freshman Prince Oduro and Roman Penn played well again for the Saints. Oduro turned in a performance including 14 points, 7rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks, while Penn contributed with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

The Colonials were led by Dachone Burke who recorded a game-high 26 points, to go along with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.

The Saints closed out their three-game home stand with a 2-1 record which featured back-to-back wins in Saturday matinées. Siena will now travel to Kentucky to take on the #17 Louisville Cardinals on Wednesday, December 6 at the KFC Yum! Center. Tip-off is set for 7pm.