Siena men’s basketball set for trip to ESPN Events Invitational

Siena's Javian McCollum handles the ball next to Army's Jalen Rucker Nov. 16
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Siena's Javian McCollum handles the ball next to Army's Jalen Rucker Nov. 16

LOUDONVILLE – Coming off back-to-back losses to Army West Point and Harvard, Siena men’s basketball will head to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida to take part in the ESPN Events Invitational.

Siena (2-2 overall), will play in three games during the tournament, starting Thursday at 11 a.m. with an opening-round game against Florida State, with subsequent games on Friday and Sunday.

Here are a few things to look for as Siena heads south:

RECENT FORM

After starting the season strong with wins over Holy Cross and UAlbany, Siena will head to Florida on a two-game losing streak, having dropped a 96-94 overtime decision last Wednesday against Army West Point prior to Sunday’s 69-59 road loss to Harvard.

In that loss to Harvard, Siena started hot with an early 11-2 lead, but committed 20 turnovers and couldn’t contain Harvard’s Chisom Okpara, who put up 24 points on 10 of 13 shooting.

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Andrew Platek scored a team-high 15 points for Siena against Harvard, but sophomore point guard Javian McCollum — who scored at least 20 points in each of Siena’s first three games — was limited to just two points in 26 minutes, missed all four of his attempts from the field and committed five turnovers.

SCOUTING THE SEMINOLES

Florida State (1-4 overall) has gotten off to a difficult start under long-time coach Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles dropped their first four games of the season, including home setbacks against Stetson and Troy, before getting into the win column on Monday with an 81-72 victory against Mercer.

The Seminoles have four different players — Darin Green Jr., Caleb Mills, Cam’Ron Fletcher and Matthew Cleveland — averaging at least 11.2 points per game, while 7-foot-4 center Naheem McLeod was a difference-maker against Mercer with eight points, nine rebounds and five blocks in 31 minutes.

Florida State is coming off a 17-14 season in 2021-22, with the Seminoles missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016.

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A MATCHUP WITH SOME HISTORY

Siena’s opponent on Friday will be either Ole Miss or Stanford, and if it’s the latter, it’ll be a rematch of two of the most famous wins in Siena program history.

The first of those was Siena’s first-ever NCAA tournament win on March 16, 1989 in Greensboro, North Carolina, when the 14th-seeded Saints stunned third-seeded Stanford 80-78 behind 32 points from Marc Brown and 20 points from Jeff Robinson.

Eighteen years later, Siena upset a 20th-ranked Stanford team 79-67 when the Cardinal visited downtown Albany for a regular-season clash. Josh Duell scored 16 points to lead four Siena players in double figures in that game.

ALSO IN THE FIELD

The other half of the bracket consists of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Memphis and Seton Hall, one of which Siena will play in its final tournament game on Sunday.

If it’s Seton Hall, that means a meeting with another former foe in head coach Shaheen Holloway, who headed to his alma mater this season after leading Siena’s MAAC rival Saint Peter’s to its stunning Elite Eight run in last season’s NCAA tournament. 

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Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, Sports

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