ALBANY — It went from elation to misery in just a matter of seconds. In the third overtime, a game-tying three with four seconds left seemed to be the most important play of the game.
However, mental errors are, unfortunately for all teams at some point or another, part of the game. Siena became the victim of one on Sunday afternoon when Ahsante Shivers intentionally fouled Monmouth’s Austin Tilghman, whose free throws ended the game as the Saints fell 93-89.
In the final seconds of the third overtime, Monmouth held an 89-87 lead with Siena down to their last shot. They gave the ball to freshman Jordan Horn, who sank a jump shot from the free throw line to tie the game with four seconds to play and the assumption was that he had sent the game into a fourth overtime.
When Monmouth inbounded the ball after the shot, Shivers ran over to Austin Tilghman and fouled him with three seconds to play, an obvious mental error. Tilghman hit both free throws to give Monmouth a 91-89 lead in the final seconds, and extended it with more of them with one second left after another intentional foul.
“No one said to foul there,” Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos said. “No one on our bench yelled foul, everyone was yelling get back.”
Shivers also addressed the play after the game, and said that he thought Horn’s shot made it a one-point game, did not tie it and that a foul was needed. “I thought we were down by three, and then when Jordan scored the two, I thought we had to foul right away,” he said. “It’s my job as a player to know the time and the score of the game, and I should have known better.”
Heading into the third overtime, Siena looked to have the majority of the momentum. With 25 seconds to play in the second overtime, Monmouth’s Micah Seaborn hit two free throws that put them up 85-80. That looked to be it for the Saints, until Christian Bentley finished off an and-one play that made it 85-83 with 19 seconds left. Siena got the ball back in the final seconds, and then Horn got fouled as he took a shot with two seconds on the clock and hit both free throws to send the game into the third extra period. Horn finished with 14 points on the day.
He also discussed the final play of the game, the sequence that occurred immediately following his score to tie the game at 89. “That’s not on him,” Horn said. “He’s like our brother, and when one of our brothers is down we got to be able to pick him up and after that happened I just told him (to) keep (his) head up.”
He was one of Siena’s four double-digit scorers on the day. Khalil Richard scored a career-high 23 points, while Evan Fisher had 19, and Shivers had 10.
In regulation, Monmouth had a two-point lead in the final seconds, but then it was Thomas Huerter, Jr. coming up in the clutch as he scored on a jump shot to tie the game at 66 with 26 seconds to play. That basket eventually sent the game into overtime where 15 minutes of play was needed to decide on a winner, but Siena was not able to get it done.
“Our team is fighting hard. We don’t have that many people on our bench, and everybody’s working really hard,” Patsos said.
With the win, Monmouth improves to 6-10 in MAAC play and 10-18 overall. They play again on Thursday, taking on Rider at home. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Siena falls to 4-12 in league play and 8-21 overall. They are back in action on Wednesday for their final regular season home game of the season, facing Fairfield. That game will also begin at 7 p.m.