If you haven’t heard yet, Siena earned their first MAAC win of the season yesterday afternoon, and it came in spectacular fashion. With five seconds left in a tie game, freshman Jordan Horn pocketed a three that clinched Siena’s victory, 65-62. It was the icing on the cake for the Saints, who had just about everything go their way Sunday afternoon.
Siena played probably their best half of basketball all season in the first half. They held the MAAC-leading Canisius to just 21 points on 8-33 shooting, and 3-15 from three. They finished the frame with a seven-point lead, 28-21 and were on a 17-3 run after being down 18-11 early on. Siena’s perimeter defense forced the Golden Griffins to take bad shots, and it showed, especially late in the first. They went over eight minutes without scoring before the break.
They held Jermaine Crumpton, who has a chance to be the MAAC player of the year, to 1-8 in the first half and 5-15 overall, including 0-5 from behind the arc. He was defended for the most part by Evan Fisher.
“Once we matched up, Evan was great,” Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said of Fisher’s defensive performance.
Fisher added; “We really locked in and got off to a good start, something we had talked about, and I think that’s a big deal with Canisius. They’re a really high-powered offensive team and to hold them to around 20 in a half is really good.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Saints used a four-man attack for most of their points, as 59 of their 65 total points came from a group of Fisher, Horn, Prince Oduro and Ahsante Shivers. Shivers led them all with a total of 18, including some big scores late in the game as Canisius made a run to get it close towards the end of the contest. He made back-to-back shots after Canisius made it a 57-56 game, and those two scores made it a five-point lead instead of one.
“It was tough when we ran our plays, and then we just made a lot of tough shots,” Shivers said of the Saints scoring late in the game.
Oduro played tough inside, finishing the day with 13 points and six rebounds. Fisher came a rebound shy of a double-double, with 16 points and nine boards.
Rebounding was also a key factor in the win, as the Saints held a 43-24 advantage on the boards, including 14 offensive rebounds.
“Just staying around the rim, trying to keep it a physical game. Just playing as hard as we could really, not thinking that much about it, keep some balls alive,” Fisher said.
Another game storyline was Nico Clareth missing his second straight game due to a “family issue,” as he traveled back to his hometown of Baltimore on Friday morning, missing that night’s game against Niagara. As of Monday afternoon, there is no update of when he will return to the team. He missed seven games last year on a leave of absence, and was suspended for another three.
“The group we have right here is a really good group and we’re committed to winning with this group, they give us a good chance to win,” Patsos said.
Siena now embarks on a two-game road trip featuring tilts with Iona and Manhattan before returning to the Times Union Center for a match up with Marist on January 18.