Hot-shooting Army defeats Siena men’s basketball in overtime 96-94

Siena's Javian McCollum, right, dribbles while guarded by Army's Jalen Rucker at MVP Arena on Wednesday.

Siena's Javian McCollum, right, dribbles while guarded by Army's Jalen Rucker at MVP Arena on Wednesday.

ALBANY – The body blows piled up.

The knockout punch came quickly.

On a night when the Siena men’s basketball team couldn’t stop Army from hitting shot after shot in regulation, the Cadets took control of overtime in the opening moments and finished off Siena 96-94 in a non-conference game at MVP Arena on Wednesday night.

Freshman Coleton Benson’s drive with a second left in regulation sent it into overtime, and point guard Jalen Rucker scored five straight points after the break. Siena never got closer than three points the rest of the way until Michael Eley hit a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer to produce the final score.

The Saints (2-1) squandered an 82-75 lead with 1:09 to play, mostly because the Cadets consistently kept their shooting above 60% all night.

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“You’re not winning when you let somebody come into your building and do that,” Siena head coach Carm Maciariello said. “At least we’re learning this lesson now as opposed to March.”

“There weren’t many times they didn’t come down the floor and convert,” Siena’s Jayce Johnson said. “It’s nothing we can’t fix.”

Army point guard Jalen Rucker scored 11 points all night, but five of them came in the opening moments of overtime, on a drive and three free throws after he was fouled by Jared Billups while attempting a 3-pointer.

Rucker fouled out right after giving the Cadets an 87-82 lead, but Army continued to assume control of overtime with a drive by Ethan Roberts and a dunk by Charlie Peterson for a 91-84 lead.

Siena called timeout with 28.8 seconds left after Andrew Platek hit a 3 to cut the Saints’ deficit to 92-89.

Jared Cross hit two free throws for Army, but McCollum missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds, and two free throws by Roberts was enough to clinch it, making it 96-91 with four seconds left.

“Our strategy was to punch them in the mouth first, and they, obviously, punched us in the mouth first,” McCollum said.

Army outscored Siena 7-0 in the final minute of regulation to tie it at 82-82 and send the game to overtime.

Rucker’s drive cut it to 82-77, and after Billups missed the front end of a one-and-one, Roberts hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to cut it to 82-80 with 40 seconds left.

McCollum’s 3-pointer from the left diagonal rimmed out, and Coleton Benson was able to drive past Billups for a layup high off the glass with one second left to make it 82-82.

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“It felt good coming off my hand, but you saw the result, so we just have to get back in the gym and work on those reps and keep moving forward,” McCollum said.

“We had a chance to close out the game, and we don’t,” Maciariello said. “They hit some big shots. Their two freshmen really stepped up, Roberts and Benson. Those guys were really good.”

McCollum finished with 21 points and five assists with six turnovers, five of which came in the first half.

Johnson and Eley each scored 16, and Platek finished with 15.

Roberts scored 22 for Army (2-1), and Benson scored 21, making five of seven 3-pointers.

Siena took its first lead of the game, 15-14, when Stormo scored inside with 11:18 left in the first half, and it remained close throughout.

Army went on an 8-0 run just before halftime to go up 41-35, but a Billups tip-in on the offensive glass and two free throws by McCollum cut it to 41-39.

The Cadets started the second half with another quick burst of scoring that began with an easy layup by Rucker on a backdoor cut. The Saints answered with an 8-0 run that included 3-pointers by Johnson and Platek to tie it at 49-49.

The game was tied three more times before Siena made a push near the end of regulation, scoring 10 straight points, six from McCollum and four from Billups, to take an 82-75 lead with 1:09 left.

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Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, Sports

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