The win was never much in doubt, and it was one that delivered the Siena men’s basketball program its first 3-0 start since the 2003-04 season.
Pushing that record to 4-0 won’t be easy, though, if the injury that junior Jalen Pickett sustained in the final minutes of Saturday’s 74-58 win against Fairfield at Alumni Hall is anything other than a minor one he’s able to shake off before the teams meet again 4 p.m. Sunday.
In a game that saw Pickett surpass 1,000 career points, the reigning MAAC Player of the Year exited with 2:02 to go after experiencing some type of issue with his right leg. There was no contact on the play that saw Pickett end up on the ground with veteran Siena trainer Greg Dashnaw tending to him, but Pickett was able to walk off under his own power and didn’t appear in much discomfort as he watched the game’s final minutes.
“I don’t think it’s anything major,” Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said, “but we’ll see.”
Pickett was not made available during the postgame teleconference.
“He’s getting treatment right now,” Maciariello said. “I’ll know something later tonight.”
Before leaving Siena’s lineup, Pickett supplied the Saints with another all-around strong effort. In 37 minutes, the 6-foot-4 guard registered 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Also adding 15 points was junior Jackson Stormo, Siena’s back-up big man. In Siena’s first three games, Saturday’s effort represented the second double-digit scoring game for the transfer from Pepperdine.
“Personally, I couldn’t be happier. I have a platform here to show what I can do, and so does everyone else on the team,” said Stormo, who only played 186 minutes in his two seasons at Pepperdine. “I’m really excited to get out there every night and go to work.”
Siena never trailed in a MAAC game it started with an 8-0 run. Fairfield (2-5, 2-10) trailed Siena (3-0, 3-0) by as many as 18 points, but had the Saints’ lead down to seven points with less than six minutes to go. From there, though, Siena answered with a 7-0 run and maintained a double-digit advantage for the final five minutes.
“It’s a fun team to coach,” Maciariello said. “We just can’t take any plays off.”
Besides Pickett and Stormo, Siena received 11 points from sophomore Kyle Young, and nine points and seven rebounds from senior Manny Camper.
Making his Siena debut, freshman Aidan Carpenter contributed seven points in 17 minutes.
Jesus Cruz led Fairfield with a dozen points.
Saturday’s win was the Saints’ 13th in a row going back to last season.
The victory started Siena at 1-0 on the road this season after it lost its first nine games on the road last season.