LOUDONVILLE– Tyquan Rolon scored 18 points and added six rebounds and five assists as Division II power Le Moyne fended off Siena Basketball 73-71 in front of 1,378 fans in a preseason exhibition on campus at the Alumni Recreation Center. Junior captain Nico Clareth led all scorers with 33 points for the Saints.
Isaiah Eisendorf poured in 13 points and Daniel Kaigler added 12 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench for a veteran 12-member Le Moyne squad which features nine seniors. The Dolphins return their top four scorers from a year ago – all of whom averaged in double figures – from a team which posted a 22-7 overall record and won the Northeast-10 Conference Southwest Division Regular Season Championship with a 16-4 mark.
A Preseason Second Team All-MAAC selection, Clareth added five rebounds, four steals and two thunderous blocks in making a strong personal opening statement for the Saints. Sophomore guard Khalil Richard contributed 13 points on 4-6 shooting including 3-4 from distance off the bench, while highly touted freshman forward Prince Oduro scored nine points to go along with four rebounds and two blocks in a solid debut in front of the Siena faithful.
Le Moyne started off the game hot, racing out to a 24-8 lead with 8:34 remaining in the first half. But thanks to 17 first half points from Clareth, the Saints battled back and ended the stanza on a 23-11 run to pull within 35-31 at the break.
The Dolphins would extend their second half advantage back to as many as 15, after rattling off six straight points to go up 69-54 with 6:01 to go. However, once again the resilient young Saints responded.
Siena reeled off 14 consecutive points over 4:32 – including seven from Clareth – to rally within just a point at 69-68 with 77 seconds left following a layup by the junior. The Saints would get one final chance with the ball down by two points in the final moments, but a turnover in the final second iced it as the Dolphins captured the first meeting between the former rivals in 25 years. Siena and Le Moyne met 62 times in regular season action over a 44-year span from 1948-92.
The Saints will now have six days to prepare for their 2017-18 regular season opener next Friday in South Carolina against Colonial Athletic Association preseason favorite College of Charleston.