ALBANY — In their home opener, Siena struggled mightily in the second half and ultimately fell to Florida Gulf Coast on Monday night at the Times Union Center by a lopsided score of 86-53, the Saints’ worst loss in nearly three years.
The Saints played competitively in the first half and only trailed by 13 at halftime, not very close but not out of the game by any means.
Siena showed some life early on in the second half. They trailed by just eight after Khalil Richard, who led the team with 12 points, hit a shot with a little more than 14 minutes to play, but that was as close as the Saints made it. Florida Gulf Coast immediately went on a quick 8-0 run after that, putting them up by 16 and effectively ending the Saints’ chances of crawling back in.
“We lost in overtime (to College of Charleston), played really good down there, and we played with passion and emotion, everything was great. Tonight, I just thought some of our emotion got taken away from us,” Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos said.
Siena was outscored 46-26 in the second half alone, and lost the rebounding battle 48-33.
With Siena being a young team against a program that has made the NCAA tournament three of the past five years and are poised to do so again this year, it was tough for the Saints to put anything together against a seasoned, veteran squad. It showed most notably in Prince Oduro, who finished the night 2-12 shooting.
Nico Clareth also did not have the best of nights, finishing with just six points on 3-12 shooting, and did not hit a single three-pointer in five attempts.
“We didn’t compete for forty minutes. But executing, we’ll work some more on executing, doing some basics,” Patsos said. “We did a couple things uncharacteristically.”
Florida Gulf Coast spread the ball around the entire night, ending with four players in double figures and another with nine. Brandon Goodwin and Christian Terrell had 16 points each to lead the Eagles. Terrell also went a perfect 7-7 from the field.
“The good thing (is) we can play big for a while if we need to. We’ve got some front-line depth, and we’ve got two guys at home that are bigs, one’s injured and one’s getting eligible. We can play even bigger and we can play small,” Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley said.
For Siena, this loss by 33 points comes as their worst since January 16, 2015, when they lost at Canisius by 34.
Florida Gulf Coast starts the year 2-0. They will be back in action on Saturday on the road again taking on Bowling Green in Kentucky. Start time is 6 p.m.
Siena launches the campaign 0-2 for the second time in three years. They will play again on Friday on the road against Lehigh at 7 p.m. They return home on Saturday, November 25 for a tilt against Hofstra. Game time is set for 2 p.m.