Albany

Another cold second half, another blowout loss, as Siena falls to Delaware

Siena's Colby Rogers drives to the basket against Delaware on Saturday night.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Siena's Colby Rogers drives to the basket against Delaware on Saturday night.

ALBANY — Siena men’s basketball fans waited 619 days to walk into the Times Union Center for a real game.

Some of them didn’t wait until the end of it to walk back out.

Delaware used a 22-0 run in the second half to blow the game open on the way to an 83-63 victory over Siena in front of 5,842 on Saturday night, the first time the Saints (0-2) had played a regular-season or playoff game at home with fans in attendance since March 4, 2020, because of the pandemic.

Siena’s performance was ominously similar to Tuesday’s season-opening 75-47 loss at St. Bonaventure, and, in fact, the Blue Hens (1-1) led by the same score, but with over six minutes left to play this time.

Jackson Stormo finally scored with 4:32 left, ending a scoreless span of 7:38 for the Saints, but the damage was done, much of it by Jameer Nelson Jr., the son of the former Saint Joseph’s University star and 14-year NBA veteran. Nelson Jr. scored 12 of his 19 points during the 22-0 game-breaker.

“It’s a very similar game, similar situation [to the St. Bonaventure loss], where we’ve got to figure out what our identity is,” Stormo said. “Amongst ourselves, we’ve really got to figure that out and make sure that when we come to play, we can match people’s intensity. It’s a game of runs, but 22-oh is too big.”

“It was a five-point game, and we gave up a 22-to-nothing run,” Maciariello said. “Didn’t see much resilience or fight. Our guys have to submit to the coaching. We want to pick up 75 feet, we want to guard the ball, we want to pressure in the halfcourt, we want to defend and rebound and run …

“We talk about identity all the time. These two guys get it, so I’m glad they’re here, because usually after a game like this I don’t like to bring any players to press conferences.”

The other guy, besides Stormo, at the post-game interview table was Colby Rogers, a bright spot for the Saints after making six of seven three-pointers and scoring 20 points.

Nobody else had more than nine.

For the second game in a row, turnovers were a problem for Siena.

They committed 14 on Saturday (15 against St. Bonaventure) and were outscored 23-12 off those turnovers (22-7 on Tuesday).

The second half was significantly different from the first, when both teams came out smoking hot from outside.

Siena and Delaware were a combined 9-for-10 from three-point range from the opening tap, the last of which came off the hand of the Saints’ Nick Hopkins for a 21-19 lead.

The Blue Hens took control with an 18-2 run from there for a 37-23 lead, then the Saints chipped away from the free throw line to cut it to 42-33 at halftime.

“Some games, both teams are hot,” Rogers said. “Yeah, we were both shooting the ball well, but at the end of the day, it’s about who gets the most stops.”

Only one team checked that box in the second half, and it wasn’t Siena.

Rogers hit two threes early, the second of which rattled through to cut it to 46-41.

Ryan Allen, who finished with 15 points for the Blue Hens, put back his own miss and made a three to push it to 55-45, then Anthony Gaines scored on a jumper in the lane for Siena with 12:10 left, but the Saints didn’t score another point until Stormo’s basket with 4:32 to play. By then, Delaware was up by 30, 77-47.

“We’ve shown flashes, but flashes don’t win games,” Maciariello said. “These guys have to learn how to win. This group hasn’t learned how to win yet.”

When Stormo was asked whether his coach’s assessment was accurate, about Siena lacking resilience, he paused for seven seconds, took a breath, and said, “Yes … yeah, lack of resilience is something we’ve got to battle through. But I know the dudes in the locker room, they’re going to come ready to work, ready to figure this out together.”

His answer was the opposite, when asked if the disappointment was compounded by the fact that finally — finally — there were fans, who watched the unveiling of a banner celebrating last year’s MAAC regular-season co-championship, back in the building. Some of them headed for the exits with five minutes left in the game.

“Honestly, no,” Stormo said with no hesitation. “Obviously, it’s great to have the fans back, but this is an on-the-court issue, it’s something that we’ve got to figure out in practice and amongst ourselves. So, no, it really didn’t make a difference.”

“It was great to see it [the banner],” Maciariello said. “It’s something that they can’t ever take from us, but at the end of the day, I was thankful for all the alums and the class of 2020 that came here, and, obviously, embarrassed, to be honest with you.

“Embarrassed by that effort, embarrassed by the lack of resiliency in this group. We’ve got to make sure we’re putting our heads down, and it’s not just about saying things and doing things. It’s about continually doing those things all the time.”

ROSTER UPDATE

Maciariello had said during the week that freshmen Jared Billups and Javian McCollum, recovering from injuries, would be gameday decisions on whether to play. Neither was in the lineup.

Junior Jordan Kellier and freshman Taihland Owens are also out, but were not due to return against Delaware.

“Those are four guys that add to our depth,” Maciariello said. “[Then] we can make sure guys aren’t tired and taking shots based on fatigue. I think you can overcome that regardless. These guys want to play, and we still have to execute when we’re tired. We’re not changing our style based on the lack of depth.”

Maciariello said he hopes Billups will be available for Yale at home on Monday and McCollum for Georgetown on the road Nov. 19. Kellier’s rehab will determine whether he’s available for the Georgetown game.

Maciariello also said Siena is still waiting for word from the NCAA on a possible waiver for North Carolina transfer Andrew Platek.

Reach Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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