ALBANY — On a day when Jackson Stormo and Nick Hopkins traditionally might blow out some candles, the Yale men’s basketball team blew out Siena.
The two Siena veterans both celebrated birthdays on Tuesday, but it was the Bulldogs who were celebrating after an 82-54 victory over Siena before 4,729 at the Times Union Center, soon to be renamed for its new title sponsor, MVP Health Care.
Siena fell to 0-3 with its third straight loss by at least 20 points, and you have to go back to the 2012-13 season to find a three-game stretch in which the Saints lost by double digits in each. Then it’s back to 1994-95 for the last three-game losing streak by 20 points in each.
Head coach Carmen Maciariello took an upbeat tone after the game, in which Stormo scored a single-game career-high 19 points, Colby Rogers scored 18 and the rest of the team accounted for just 17 total.
“I didn’t scream or yell,” he said. “I said, ‘We’ve got to figure out what we’ve got to do to get the results from our practices.’ Because our practices, we get better, we compete, we learn, we grow, we teach.
“To not be able to finish plays or have guys outwork us, that’s the one thing we can’t have. So where’s that disconnect from? Really working hard in practice and trying to outwork your teammate, to now having a team that wants to come in our home arena and beat us.”
“Of course this is not where we wanted to be three games in, but we’re doing a lot of learning, getting a lot of experience, like coach said, figuring out how to play with each other,” Stormo said. “We see flashes, now it’s about building off what we do do right.”
Yale (3-1) led 33-22 at halftime, then quickly took control in the second half with a 12-0 run for a 45-24 lead, including seven points from guard Azar Swain, who led the Bulldogs with 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting and passed 1,000 career points later in the game.
Unlike losses to St. Bonaventure and Delaware, when Siena suffered long scoring droughts in the second half, the Saints at least got into a pattern of swapping points for a stretch with Yale this time.
That did nothing to chip into the lead, of course, and the Bulldogs finally put the Saints away for good on back-to-back threes by Swain for a 65-41 lead with 6:55 left.
“I thought these would be games where we could fine-tune some things,” Maciariello said. “But winning’s hard. These guys, with all their various backgrounds and the fact we never even played pickup in the summer because we didn’t have enough healthy guys, that chemistry is built then.
“Obviously, these results the last three games were not what we want. We play games to win here at Siena, and that’s why these guys came here. We’ve got to continue to grow, and that’s what it’s about.”
“I don’t think there’s any discouragement, at least from my end,” Rogers said. “We’re a fairly new team. We had injuries all through summer. I kind of look at these losses as growing pains. March is what matters the most, conference play is what matters the most. I look at it as a step-by-step process, a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve got a long season ahead of us. So I try not to dwell on these losses too much.”
Siena did get freshmen Jared Billups and Javian McCollum into uniform for the first time, after the start to their season was slowed by injuries, but starter Aidan Carpenter played less than three minutes after suffering a groin injury early in the game.
Billups and McCollum each played 18 minutes.
Next up for Siena, after playing three teams each picked to win their respective conferences, is a road game at Georgetown on Friday.
“Credit to Yale. This non-conference slate was designed to challenge us, and it’s doing that,” Maciariello said.