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.

ksru
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

efru
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.

Regular Season Finale: Siena at St. Peter’s & A Look Ahead to the MAAC Tournament

Siena Stumped by St. Peter’s

kadeem st. peter's
Times Union

Siena closed out its 2017-18 regular season with a 65-48 loss at St. Peter’s on Sunday.

With the win, St. Peter’s secured the 9 seed in this year’s MAAC Tournament, while Siena settled for the 10 seed, as Marist lost 98-74 at Canisius on Sunday.

The Saints raced out to a 19-12 lead, but the Peacocks closed the half on a 14-3 run to take a 26-22 lead into the break.

Siena cut St. Peter’s lead to one, 28-27, with 16:18 to go on a jumper by Prince Oduro, but the Peacocks responded with a layup by Elijah Gonzales on the subsequent possession and the Saints would not get any closer the rest of the way.

St. Peter’s shot 51.1% from the field and 45.5% from three point range to overcome their 16 turnovers. Siena, on the other hand, shot just 32.7% from the floor and 33.3% from deep.

Cameron Jones led the Peacocks with 14 points and 4 rebounds off the bench, while Gonzales contributed a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

The Saints were led by Kadeem Smithen who scored 11 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, and came away with 5 steals. Oduro tallied 10 points. Ahsante Shivers finished with 8 points and 4 rebounds in the losing effort.

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sienasaints.com

Jimmy Patsos commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “We’re struggling to find someone who can shoot the ball right now,” Patsos said. “St. Peter’s is an excellent defensive team. There was five free throws in a row missed and you’re not gonna win at the MAAC level. It’s an energetic, passionate, hard league. Gonna have to get a lot tougher next week that’s for sure. It’s the MAAC Tournament or bust. It’s one game at a time now.”

Siena closed out the 2017-18 regular season with an 8-23 overall record and a 4-14 mark in the MAAC. St. Peter’s finished with a 12-17 overall record and went 6-12 in conference play.

The Saints will open the MAAC Tournament in Thursday’s first round at the Times Union Center in Albany for the first time since the 2014-15 season. Siena is the 10 seed and will take on the 7 seed Quinnipiac. Tip-off is set for 7pm. This will be the first meeting in the conference tournament between the two schools since Quinnipiac joined the MAAC in the 2013-14 season. The Bobcats swept the season series over the Saints winning 71-70 in Albany on New Year’s Day and 76-69 in Hamden, CT on January 21. Both teams have lost seven of their last eight games leading up to the MAAC Tournament. The winner will face the 2 seed Canisius, who shared the regular season MAAC Championship with Rider, at 9:30pm on Friday.

Here’s a look at the 2018 Men’s Basketball MAAC Tournament Bracket:

MAAC

Siena at Rider

Siena Romped by Rider

jordan horn rider
The Daily Gazette

Siena lost 97-71 to Rider on Thursday night. The Saints have now lost their last two road games (to the top two teams in the league) by a combined 50 points.

A layup by Tyere Marshall with 18:18 to go in the first half gave Rider a 5-4 lead—one they would not relinquish the rest of the way.

The Broncs shot 59.5% from the field in the opening stanza to take a 50-38 lead at the break. Rider cooled off and shot 54.8% from the floor in the second half to build their 26 point margin of victory.

Siena shot just 38.7% from the field, but continued to shoot well from distance as they connected on 10-of-23 (43.5%) of their attempts from beyond the arc.

The Saints were within one (39-38) in the battle on the boards against the MAAC’s leading rebounding team.

The Broncs used their relentless full court press and forced Siena into 18 turnovers.

Rider was led by Dimencio Vaughn who scored 19 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.

Siena was led by Jordan Horn’s 18 points and 4 rebounds. Kadeem Smithen and Evan Fisher tallied 10 points and corralled 4 rebounds apiece. Smithen also blocked four shots. Prince Oduro finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds. Sammy Friday added 7 points and 4 rebounds.

Jimmy Patsos commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “They [Rider] were ready for us,” Patsos said. “They’re really good. They’re physical. When it got away from us, we lost our focus in the defensive end.”

With the loss Siena fell to 8-20 overall, 4-11 in the MAAC, while Rider improved to 20-7 on the season and 13-2 in conference play.

The Saints will return home to take on the Monmouth Hawks on Sunday afternoon at 2. Iona enters the contest at 9-17 overall, 5-9 in the league. The Hawks are coming off a 73-57 win over St. Peter’s on Tuesday. Before making the trip to Albany, Monmouth will host Canisius on Friday. The Saints will look to avenge an earlier loss to the Hawks this season. Siena lost to Monmouth 67-56 on the Jersey shore on January 25.

Iona at Siena

Siena Downs Iona in Overtime

khalil iona
The Daily Gazette

It was an all too familiar scene for Siena fans at the Times Union Center Monday night, but the ending was different. The Saints defeated Iona 82-78. The win was the first win over the Gaels in the Times Union Center since 2012 (0-8 since).

It was a back-and-forth game throughout. Siena opened up a 24-20 lead with 7:54 left in the first half on a three pointer from Evan Fisher. Iona took a 36-33 lead into the break on a jumper from E.J. Crawford with 1 second remaining in the opening stanza.

The Gaels took a six point lead on a three point basket by Crawford with 9:35 to go in the second half. Siena battled back and took a 64-63 lead on a jumper by Khalil Richard with 3:26 on the clock. A free throw by Schadrac Casimir tied the game and a layup by Rickey McGill gave Iona a 66-64 advantage with 1:26 remaining in regulation. Jordan Horn connected on a jumper with 27 tics left to tie the game a 66. The Saints got a stop on the final possession of the second half to send the game to overtime.

Fisher lit it up in the overtime period. The junior forward tallied 10 points in the extra session, including two free throws with 12.4 seconds to go to give Siena an 81-78 lead. A late free throw by Kadeem Smithen iced it for the Saints.

evan iona
sienasaints.com

Siena shot 48.4% from the field, including 36.8% from behind the arc, while Iona shot 42.9% from the field and 31.6% from three-point land. The Saints outrebounded the Gaels 40-34 and assisted on 17 of their 31 made baskets.

The Gaels were without their third leading scorer Deyshonee Much who was averaging 11.9 points and 4.2 rebounds this season. Much did not make the trip to Albany after not venturing with the team to Jersey City in their win over St. Peter’s on Saturday. Much was reportedly restrained by Iona Coach Tim Cluess after he was frustrated by the Gaels’ blowout loss to Monmouth on Thursday.

Iona was led by Roland Griffin who scored 21 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in the losing effort.

Siena was led by Richard who scored a career-high 22 points, on 9-of-19 shooting, corralled 5 rebounds, and dished out four assists. Fisher finished with 21 points, including three made treys, and 9 rebounds. Horn tallied 18 points, on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-11 from deep, and pulled down 5 rebounds. Prince Oduro added 12 points and 6 rebounds. Smithen stuffed the stat sheet with 5 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Jimmy Patsos commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “Gutty effort,” Patsos said. “Proud of the players, proud of the team, but I’ve been proud of them all year. We’re learning on the fly. We practiced well and that’s why we played well. We were all disappointed with our effort against Canisius. That’s what character is. Siena players have character. It’s what you do next.”

With the win, Siena improved to 8-19 overall, 4-10 in the MAAC, while Iona fell to 16-11 on the season, 10-5 in conference play.

The Saints return to action on Thursday when they travel to Lawrenceville, NJ to take on the Rider Broncs. Tip-off is set for 7pm. This will be the only time the two teams meet this season due to the restructuring of the conference schedule. Rider enters the contest at 19-7 overall and 12-2 in the MAAC. The Broncs are coming off an 89-79 win over Marist on Saturday. Rider is led by Dimencio Vaughn who is averaging 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Last year, the two teams split the season series with each team protecting their home court. The Broncs won 71-69 in Lawrenceville, while Siena came away with a 78-68 win in Albany in a game that made national headlines, as a fight broke out between the two teams in the waning seconds.