ALBANY — The homestand had been rising like a warm loaf of bread in the oven.
Then, it got stale on the counter.
The Siena men’s basketball team came into its game against Rider on Friday with a chance to go 4-0 over an intense eight-day span of games at MVP Arena.
Instead, the Saints came up flat and lost to the Broncs 74-60, hanging around while down five points with seven minutes left, but failing to dictate matters from there.
Siena fell to 6-4 in the MAAC and 9-9 overall, and will continue its compressed flurry of games on Sunday, but will do so away from what had been a comfortable homecourt recently, with a game at Fairfield.
“You can’t think you can just show up,” Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said. “I think we played Siena basketball for about 10 minutes. The offensive rebounds we gave up, no box-outs, 50-50 balls, missing front ends of one-and-ones … it wasn’t good enough. Credit to Rider for coming in here and being the aggressor. They wanted the game more than us. Point blank.”
“They set the tone for the game, and like coach said, they came and brought it to us, and we didn’t match the physicality, match the intensity,” junior Colby Rogers said. “And it showed in the result. Next game, we’ve got to set the tone, just like they did tonight.
“Going 3-0, we probably got too lackadaisical. So mentally we’ve got to stay locked in. We can’t let anybody come into our home floor and set the tone against us.”
Rogers finished with 20 points, hitting a 3-pointer to cut Rider’s lead to 55-49 with 7:06 left and a long jumper to cut it to 63-56 with 3:20 left.
Allen Powell hit two free throws for the Broncs (4-7, 8-13), and after Siena immediately turned it over on the inbounds, Powell nailed a 3 from the left corner for a 68-47 lead.
Rider, which made 18 of 21 free throws in the game, polished off Siena by making all six attempts from the line in the final 2:07.
Dimencio Vaughn led the Broncs 24 points, and Rider chased down 14 offensive rebounds.
“They played deeper into the shot clock, then they were able to get second-chance opportunities to elongate possessions even further,” Maciariello said. “Now we’re guarding, and they’re able to score after two or three shot attempts. It’s deflating. But, right there, that just shows we weren’t ready to play for 40 minutes right from the jump.”
Forward Jordan Kellier returned to the lineup after having missed two games with an injury, but guard Nick Hopkins was not in uniform. Maciariello said he hopes Hopkins will be available for the Fairfield game.
With Hopkins out, freshman point guard Javian McCollum had his best game as a Saint, scoring 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field despite picking up three fouls in the first half.
“I thought it was an unfortunate foul for his third foul, but I didn’t want him getting too stagnant on the bench, especially with Nick Hopkins out,” Maciariello said. “So I wanted to kind of keep him in the flow of the game.
“But Javian was good. We still have to work on defensive assignments and ball pressure, but he’s growing every day. Think about how many games he’s played. Probably only 10 college games, so it’s still young for him.”
Rider was up 34-24 late in the first half when McCollum was whistled for an offensive foul, his third.
Rogers chucked up a 3 at the buzzer to get Siena within 34-27 at halftime.
The Broncs used a 9-0 run nearing the midway point of the second half to go up 51-38, and the Saints chased the rest of the way and never caught up.