Siena almost did enough to steal a win Saturday at McCann Arena in Poughkeepsie.
But that’s what the Saints would have been doing if they emerged victorious from the first half of their two-game series with Marist. Instead, Marist used a late surge to pick up a 55-54 victory, as Siena’s program-record eight-game road winning streak came to an end.
That late surge? It came in the form of a 6-0 game-ending run, a stretch that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Marist freshman Ricardo Wright in the final 90 seconds after Siena seemed poised to pull off the road win despite a dismal first half and subpar performances from its top players.
“Inexcusable,” Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said during a post-game teleconference, “to give up back-to-back 3s.”
Siena sophomore Jordan King missed a 3 after Wright’s second make, but the Saints still got one more opportunity to take the game. After a Marist missed free throw and a Siena timeout, the Saints worked the ball to junior star Jalen Pickett. After earning the Saints a win last year at Marist with a buzzer-beating shot, though, Pickett’s potential game-winning attempt Saturday was off the mark.
Marist head coach John Dunne, during a post-game interview on ESPN+, said he thought Pickett’s attempt this year was a “cleaner look” than he had last season.
“Sometimes,” Dunne said, “it’s just about making or missing.”
“End of the day,” Maciariello said, “it shouldn’t have been down to that. We should’ve been up.”
Siena, though, mostly struggled through a first half that ended with Marist ahead 27-22. Siena’s top-three scorers this season — senior Manny Camper, King and Pickett — each missed their first four shots before King made a 3-pointer late in the half. That trio combined to make 2 of 18 shots in the first half, with King scoring five points, while Camper and Pickett were each scoreless in the opening 20 minutes.
“Thought we lost the game in the first half,” Maciariello said.
Freshman Aidan Carpenter, though, gave the Saints a spark in the first half with seven points, including five during an 8-0 run late in the half that helped Siena avoid a double-digit deficit at the half.
Siena (7-2 MAAC, 7-2 overall) took its first lead of the game midway through the second half on a Carpenter 3 that put the Saints ahead 40-37. Siena never trailed Marist (7-6, 9-6) again until after the second of Wright’s back-to-back 3s with less than a minute to go.
Dunne said Wright has a “high ceiling,” but is still learning the college game.
“But he has courage, and he’s got nice touch and feel,” Dunne said. “The moment’s not too big for him.”
The first of those Wright 3s came after a sequence that didn’t exactly thrill Maciariello. With Siena leading 54-49 and less than two minutes to play, graduate student Nick Hopkins misfired on a 3 he took with 13 seconds left on the shot clock.
“We’re running a play, trying to run clock, and we shoot a 3 early on at the top of the key — and, then, we don’t match up in transition and we give Wright a top-of-the-key 3.”
Junior Raheim Sullivan led Marist with 13 points, while Wright finished with nine.
For Siena, Carpenter and junior Jackson Stormo each had a dozen points, but Camper, Pickett and King combined to shoot 9 of 37 in the Saints’ second loss in three games after their 6-0 start.
Pickett scored all of his nine points in the final 13 minutes. Camper had seven points and 11 rebounds, while King scored eight points.
Siena and Marist play Sunday at 3 p.m.
The MAAC made more schedule changes Saturday afternoon.
For Siena, most notably, the team no longer has any games next weekend. The team was supposed to play Quinnipiac that weekend, but — for now — that weekend is open for the Saints.
“I’m sure it may change again,” Maciariello said.
After Sunday’s game, Siena is next scheduled to play Wednesday vs. Canisius.