Albany

5 takeaways from Siena men’s basketball’s exhibition game

Siena’s Aidan Carpenter with the ball against Saint Rose during the men's college basketball exhibition game Monday at Times Union Center.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Siena’s Aidan Carpenter with the ball against Saint Rose during the men's college basketball exhibition game Monday at Times Union Center.

The Siena men’s basketball team needed a second-half comeback to post a 77-70 win against Saint Rose in Monday night’s exhibition matchup in downtown Albany.

The Saints played without several players due to injury, including likely starter Anthony Gaines. Freshmen Javian McCollum and Taihland Owens, and senior Jayce Johnson were also unable to play against Saint Rose.

Here are five takeaways from the matchup for Siena, which opens its regular season with a Nov. 9 non-conference game at St. Bonaventure.

STARTING OFF
Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said he’d use a different starting group in each half against Saint Rose, and he stayed true to that.
The group that started the first half, though, looked an awful lot like a potential starting five for the Saints, with the caveat that Gaines — who missed the game because of an ankle injury — will replace someone from the group of Aidan Carpenter, Nick Hopkins, Jordan Kellier, Colby Rogers and Jackson Stormo.

Stormo will be the team’s starting center, and it’s possible the 27 minutes he played against Saint Rose will serve as the fewest minutes he plays in a game this season that doesn’t see him battle foul trouble. From there, though, Siena has options; the Saints could play with a lineup with interchangeable defenders at four positions if they swap Gaines in for Hopkins; they could start games with a more defensive-minded group and replace either Carpenter or Rogers; or, the Saints could utilize a smaller lineup by bringing Kellier off the bench.

AT THE POINT
Hopkins led all scorers with 20 points, but his solid on-ball defense was perhaps his most valuable contribution — and the one that will matter the most for the Saints as they move forward.

Hopkins was Siena’s primary defender against Saint Rose point guard Tray Alexander, and Alexander had seven of Saint Rose’s 23 turnovers. On a

Siena team loaded with “big wings,” as the Saints like to refer to players such as 6-foot-5 perimeter players Gaines and Jayce Johnson, who both weigh over 200 pounds, the 6-foot-0 Hopkins will often be counted on to guard opposing point guards.

Hopkins played 29 minutes against Saint Rose, and should carry a similar workload during the season, regardless of if the co-captain remains a starter or ends up coming off the bench once Siena has its full complement of players available.

TURNOVER WOES

That the Saints had a large number of turnovers in an exhibition game wasn’t necessarily alarming or surprising.

But it was a bit worrisome that Siena (24) had more turnovers than Saint Rose (23), since Siena had a sizable advantage in athleticism and the benefit of more practices than its opponent. Six Saints had multiple turnovers, and Stormo had six after averaging fewer than two per game last season.

Siena did register 15 steals, which was six more than it ever had during a 2020-21 game.

ON THE ATTACK
After a freshman season that saw Carpenter show flashes of his potential, the 6-foot-4 guard attacked the basket and was assertive in looking for his own shot against Saint Rose.

Carpenter finished with 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting.

Those 13 shot attempts were two more than he took in any game last season when the Saints’ offense revolved around three players — Manny Camper, Jordan King and Jalen Pickett — who earned All-MAAC recognition and are no longer with the program. Last season, Carpenter only took double-digit shot attempts in one game.

BAER & BILLUPS
Throughout the offseason and preseason, Maciariello has regularly heaped praise upon graduate student Michael Baer and freshman Jared Billups.
Coming off the bench on Monday night, both showed how they could contribute to the Saints.

Baer — a transfer from Iowa — made 6 of 9 shots and grabbed four rebounds in an efficient 27 minutes. His minutes will likely decrease once Gaines and Johnson join the mix, but Baer should be able to provide offense off the bench for the Saints.

There are several more-experienced players standing in the way of Billups earning 20-plus minutes — and he did pick up four fouls in the 22 minutes he played. Billups, though, produced seven points, seven rebounds and six steals in his time on the court, and displayed the athleticism that should help him find a role sooner rather than later during his college career.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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