Manhattan’s second half rally sinks Siena

ALBANY — After a great first half, Siena was not able to match it in the second, being outscored by 13 in the final 20 minutes and eventually falling to Manhattan on Friday night at the Times Union Center, 51-47.

The Saints held a nine-point lead at the break, but Manhattan turned it around quickly in the second frame. After Siena had a 37-28 lead five minutes into the second, the Jaspers went on a 14-2 run that began with a three off the hands of Zavier Turner, who had key scores, as well as baskets from Rich Kelly and Pauly Paulicap. After the run, Manhattan held a 42-39 lead.

Siena tied the game and eventually took the lead back off of a three from Kadeem Smithen who had a career-high 18 points on the night. Right after this, however, Manhattan took the lead back, and Siena could only get as far as tying the score late in the game.

They had a chance to tie or potentially win the game late trailing 49-47, but two inbounds plays did not work, the second one resulting in an offensive foul on Ahsante Shivers with less than a second to play, all but ending the game. Siena’s best chance came with 2.1 seconds to play, but a Shivers shot was blocked by Paulicap.

“End of the game down two, we had a really good play designed, and we just didn’t quite execute it, so that’s on me as a coach,” Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. “We had a wide-open three to win it.”

In the first half, Siena played as good of a half that they have played all season, holding Manhattan to just 23 points with nearly a double-digit lead heading into the break. The scoring came few and far between for Manhattan as they only made two of their first 15 shots of the night. Siena also held leads for the early parts of the second half but were not able to close it out.

“I thought we had that one. I thought we wanted it more than them,” Patsos said.

Siena played without Roman Penn who was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his heel on Friday morning. The time that he will be out for is unknown as of Friday night, but he will get an MRI next week, and more will be known after that. The injuries are piling up for Siena, as both Khalil Richard and Jordan Horn played hurt on Friday.

“It’s very tough. This is my first time getting injured, really,” Penn said. “So it’s different.”

Manhattan improves to 6-6 in conference play and 11-13 overall. They have nearly a week without a game, back in action on Thursday on the road against Rider. That game will start at 7 p.m.

Siena falls to 3-8 against MAAC opponents and 7-17 overall. They will play again on Monday against Fairfield, beginning a short two-game road trip that will also take them to Canisius. They return home on Monday, February 12, as they face Iona. All three of those games will start at 7 p.m.

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