Basketball: Saints can’t hold off Gophers

Clarence Jackson finished with a career-high 29 points, but it was the Saints who had the glum tone

The Williams Arena public address announcer’s voice trailed off with a little bit of a glum note of resignation: “Three-pointer by Clarence Jackson . . .”

Jackson’s shot rattled around in the rim and fell through to give Siena a 48-47 lead nearing the midway point of the second half.

He finished with a career-high 29 points, but it was the Saints who had the glum tone after the game, as Minnesota rallied to beat Siena, 76-69, in front of 10,752 on Monday night.

Siena committed 24 turnovers, and fell to 0-2.

For the second game in a row, freshman point guard Rakeem Brookins made things interesting, scoring 12 points in the final 2:14 before fouling out.

With frontcourt players Ryan Rossiter and OD Anosike saddled with four fouls, the Golden Gophers (2-0) took control inside, using a 10-1 run that featured three dunks to go ahead, 59-49, and the Saints never got closer than four from there. Minnesota made five of six free throws in the final 46 seconds.

“We executed our game plan perfectly, but the point guard position is really problematic,” Siena head coach Mitch Buonaguro said. “We’re trying to run plays when the game is close, and we can’t make an entry pass. It really came down to turnovers. I thought we outplayed Minnesota in a lot of areas. It wasn’t anything Minnesota did. We just couldn’t pass the ball. We had four, five turnovers throwing the ball to the post. And they kill you, because they go down and score.”

Blake Hoffarber scored 16 points for Minnesota.

Besides Jackson and Brookins, who had all of his points in the last 2:14, no one else was in double digits for Siena.

During the 10-1 run, Anosike couldn’t handle a long bounce pass from Kyle Griffin in transition, which led to a dunk by Rodney Williams, and Jon Breeden turned it over right back to Minnesota, leading to a trans­ition layup by Ralph Sampson III that gave the Gophers a 59-49 lead.

Jackson’s last points came on two free throws with 3:45 left to bring Siena within 62-55.

After going 4-for-16 against Vermont on Saturday, he was 11-for-18 from the field against Minnesota, including 5-for-8 from three-point range.

“I came out more aggressive,” he said. “I tried to work before the game to get into a rhythm. Once I got it going, my first shot, I was feeling it after that. But we were just throwing the ball around.”

“Mitch Buonaguro had his team ready to play,” Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith said. “They’re not going to be intimidated by anybody. And Jackson, what a performance he put on. We just had no answer for him.”

“Jackson, he played unbelievable,” said Trevor Mbawke, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Gophers.

Brookins made a three to bring Siena within 69-65 with 1:03 left.

Al Nolen made two free throws for Minnesota, and his layup off a Brookins turnover made it 75-67 with 26 seconds left.

“It’s really encouraging how hard we played at the end of the game,” Buonaguro said. “Brookins really was in the middle of both comebacks. He’s a really good young player. He’s just out of control, his turnovers are problematic.”

Both teams came out white-hot from three-point range to start the game, not usually one of Siena’s strengths.

Jackson and Owen Wignot each made two in the first eight minutes as the Saints took their biggest lead of the game, 25-15.

SIENA (69)

Wignot 3-7 0-0 8, Anosike 4-5 0-2 8, Rossiter 2-6 4-5 8, Griffin 1-4 0-0 3, Jackson 11-18 2-5 29, Brookins 5-8 1-1 12, Burdine 0-1 0-0 0, Martens 0-0 1-2 1, 1, Breeden 0-1 0-0 0, Walters 0-1 0-0 0, Priestley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-51 8-15 69.


Hollins 4-9 1-2 12, Mbawke 4-8 2-4 10, Sampson 4-10 5-7 13, Hoffarber 4-13 4-4 16, Nolen 2-3 3-5 7, Iverson 2-3 2-4 6, Williams 3-5 2-4 8, Armelin 2-6 0-0 4, Ahanmisi0-0 0-0 0, Walker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-57 19-30 76.

Halftime: Siena 34, Minnesota 33. Three-point goals: Siena 9-17 (Wignot 2-4, Griffin 1-3, Jackson 5-8, Brookins 1-1, Burdine 0-1); Minnesota 7-22 (Hollins 3-6, Hoffarber 4-11, Nolen 0-1, Williams 0-1, Armelin 0-3). Rebounds: Siena 32 (Rossiter 9); Minnesota 36 (Mbawke 11). Assists: Siena 12 (Griffin 5); Minnesota 17 (Hoffarber 7). Total fouls: Siena 24; Minnesota 14. Attendance: 10,752.

Categories: College Sports

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