ALBANY — Easily, Monday night’s matchup between Siena and Saint Peter’s can be put into the category of one of the greatest, worst games played in college basketball. It took the teams three overtimes to decide on a winner, but Siena pulled it out by a final score of 59-57.
The Saints trailed by eight at the half, but clawed their way back into the game throughout the second half, eventually tying the game at just 35 in the final six minutes of regulation in what had been an ugly showing on offense for both teams. Siena trailed 40-37 with less than three minutes left, but free throws from Roman Penn and Evan Fisher tied the game at 40. Finally, a Kadeem Smithen layup was blocked in the final seconds to send the game into its first extra session.
Siena opened up the first overtime on a 5-0 run courtesy of a three from Ahsante Shivers and a score from Prince Oduro to give the Saints a 45-40 lead. However, Saint Peter’s fought back on free throws from Elijah Gonzales and a basket from Samuel Idowu. In the final seconds, the Peacocks had a real chance to end it, but Gonzales missed a shot to send the game into a second overtime knotted up at 45.
Thomas Huerter, Jr. opened up the scoring in the second overtime to give Siena the lead, but he was quickly answered to tie it up at 47. Nick Griffin of Saint Peter’s hit a three to put the Peacocks up 50-47, and after six missed free throws in a row between the two teams, Roman Penn was fouled on a layup with 1:24 left in the second overtime, tying it up once again, this time at 50. Siena had the ball to close out double overtime, but an Evan Fisher three at the buzzer was blocked.
The game would be going to its third overtime. It was going to be Siena’s first triple overtime game since January 4, 2016, a 92-87 loss at Manhattan.
Siena went on a quick 6-1 run to open up the third overtime, led by an opening three from Penn, to eventually lead 56-51. However, Saint Peter’s again clawed their way back, going on a 6-0 run, to lead 57-56, but Ahsante Shivers hit a jumper with 35 seconds left in the third overtime, and Siena held on from there to give them the win in a game that was downright brutal on the offensive side.
Siena hit just nine field goals in regulation to Saint Peter’s 14. Siena shot 27.3% from the floor all night, 15-55. Saint Peter’s shot 20-64, good for 31.3%.
“I’m actually glad we went three overtimes, because otherwise we weren’t going to score 40 points, so I didn’t want that score flashing around the country,” Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said.
Siena was led by Roman Penn throughout the night as he scored 18 points and had five rebounds. He played 51 minutes, and he said that was the most he had ever played in a game at any level.
“It felt like an eternity out there, but I felt like that was our first game that we actually fought through adversity and won the game,” Penn said.
According to sports-reference.com, there have been four games in Division I basketball that went into three overtimes this season. Monday’s game set the bar for lowest combined score at 116 points. Before that, the lowest was 151.
Additionally, Monday was the first time Siena had won a multiple overtime game since their famed double overtime win against Ohio State in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Saint Peter’s falls to 8-13 overall, 2-8 in MAAC play following the loss. They play again on Friday, heading home to take on Niagara. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
Siena is now 3-7 in the conference play and 7-16 overall. They also play again on Friday, facing Manhattan at home. Start time for that one will also be 7 p.m.
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