ALBANY — It took some sweating, but Jordan Horn came through with the most clutch moment of Siena’s season, hitting the game-winner with five seconds left as the Saints snuck past Canisius Sunday afternoon at the Times Union Center, 65-62.
Just past the halfway point in the second half, Siena was rolling and owned an eight-point lead. In the final minutes of the game, Canisius stayed pesky and slowly chipped away at their deficit. Takal Molson was an integral part of the comeback for the Golden Griffins as he scored nine points in the final 10 minutes of the contest. Jermaine Crumpton made it a one-point game with three minutes to play, but Ahsante Shivers hit back-to-back shots to put the Saints up five with just under 90 seconds remaining.
With 25 seconds left, Molson finished off a three-point play to tie it at 62.
Siena set up a play and killed time in the ensuing possession. With five seconds to play, freshman sharpshooter Jordan Horn found an open look and sank a three in the final seconds, allowing Siena to grab their first conference victory of the season.
“Roman (Penn) ended up throwing it to me, there was about eight seconds left when I looked up and the (defender) was backing off,” Horn said. “His hands were down, and I just pulled up the shot.”
Horn finished the afternoon with 12 points and made three shots from behind the arc on seven attempts. He was one of four Saints to score in double figures.
In the second half, Siena pulled out to as much as a nine-point lead, much in part to the tough play under the basket of Evan Fisher and Prince Oduro that allowed the Saints some breathing room as Canisius continued to score throughout the second half. Canisius scored 41 points in the second after scoring just 21 in the first, one of Siena’s best defensive performances of the season. They shot 8-33 in the first, including 3-15 from three.
“Our group’s communicating, and Evan’s the leader. Whoever had Crumpton had to stay on him. We dropped back into a zone, it slowed them down a little,” Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos said.
Fisher came a rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 16 points and nine boards. Shivers led the team in scoring, with 18 of his own. They both hit clutch shots down the stretch.
“I think that just shows our toughness. We want to fight, we want to win, and we’re going to compete no matter what,” Shivers said.
Siena owned a 28-21 lead at the half, and 21 points was the least they had allowed in any half all season, with the previous being 25 in the second half in the season opener against College of Charleston on November 10.
For the second straight game the Saints were without top scorer Nico Clareth, who left the team on Friday and went back to his native Baltimore to deal with a “family issue.” Jimmy Patsos would not speak much about it, but expects to know more in the coming days. Assistant coach Greg Manning flew down to visit with him on Saturday and was back for the game Sunday.
Canisius falls to 9-8 with the loss and 3-1 in conference play. They will play again on Friday, returning home for a game against St. Peter’s, a 7 p.m. start
Siena is now 1-3 in MAAC play and 5-12 overall after the victory. They embark to southern New York next, for a two-game set against Iona on Thursday and Manhattan on Saturday. They return home on Thursday, January 18, for a tilt against Marist. All three of those games will start at 7 p.m.