JERSEY CITY, N.J. — It’s now nine years since the Siena Saints men’s basketball team has won at the Yanitelli Center.
First-year Siena basketball coach Jamion Christian was 0-for-1 at his first crack of ending Siena’s losing streak at St. Peter’s court. The Saints took a 65-60 loss to St. Peter’s Peacocks (4-9, 1-0) on Thursday night in both team’s first MAAC game of the season.
They haven’t won as visitors since Jan. 28, 2010 when they beat the Peacocks 66-58.
“You know everyone in the MAAC is good,” Christian said after the Saints’ first loss in conference play. “We were going to get St. Peter’s best shot. We will rebound against Canisius (Siena’s next opponent Saturday night at Times Union Center).”
The Saints (5-9, 0-1) outscored St. Peter’s 35-34 in the second half, and they made the game interesting couple of times by cutting their deficit to 51-44 and 57-51, but Davauhnte Turner hit couple of big shots for St. Peter’s to keep his team afloat. Overall in the second half, he scored 13 of his 21 points to lead the Peacocks.
“That’s what good players do,” Christian said of Turner’s performance.
It was Turner’s fourth 20 or more points performance of the season.
As much as Christian lauded Turner’s performance, he offered a different take to why Siena lost.
“I would say we expanded too much energy in the second half to comeback,” he said. “We have been a good 2nd half team, but we can’t rely on being a 2nd half team to win games.”
The Saints often played from behind in the first half by trailing 13-11 and 29-20, and at the end of the first half, they trailed the Peacocks 31-25.
They struggled to neutralized St. Peter’s big men Samuel Idowu and Quinn Taylor in the first half. Idowu scored nine of his 15 points in the first half, and Taylor scored eight of his 10 points in the first half.
“Our inexperience showed in our defensive footing,” Christian said.
To Siena’s credit, they figured it out in the second half. Sloan Seymour (12 points) slowed down Idowu and Taylor.
“We believe in Sloan’s ability,” Christian said of his freshman. “He did a fine job of defending 23 (Idowu) and 24 (Taylor).
Seymour was thankful to be entrusted with the task despite his struggles in the first half.
“We made adjustments in the second half,” he said. “We were able to take away St. Peter’s strength by wearing them down and bruising them.”
It did not go unnoticed by the Siena head coach.
“Our coaching staff has done a great job making adjustments as the game goes on this season,” Christian said.
In the end, Turner became the beneficiary of Idowu and Taylor being defended well in the second half.
Siena senior Evan Fisher led Siena with 23 points while Siena freshman sensation Jalen Pickett scored 16 points.
“Jalen is one of the best shooters in the MAAC”, Christian said. “He made some tough shots, and he is going to get better.”
Despite this loss, it was not viewed as a setback.
“We have to keep learning and getting better,” Christian said.