Siena downs Seton Hall to go 2-1 in ESPN Events Invitational

Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello.

Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello.

It turned out to be a pretty good weekend for the Siena men’s basketball team in Kissimmee, Florida.

Jackson Stormo hit a jumper in the paint with 2:19 remaining in the second half Sunday to snap a tie and lift the Saints to a 60-55 victory over Seton Hall of the Big East in the third-place game of the ESPN Events Invitational at State Farm Field House.

The Saints (4-3) went 2-1 in the tournament. They beat Florida State from the ACC 80-63 in Thursday’s opening game. They lost to Mississippi 74-62 in the second round on Friday.

Siena head coach Carm Maciariello was pleased with how the weekend went.

“We’re really proud of our guys’ effort,” Maciariello said in a video on Siena’s Twitter feed. “I think they’re understanding how hard you have to play if you want to do something special.”

Stormo agreed.

“This week just speaks to how good of a team we can be if we take every day seriously, and we show up to play every day and show up to get better and play together,” Stormo said. “All these things that we learned this week, we can take on forward. We’ve got our first conference game next week. We’re going to look into building and keep the ball rolling.”

Siena had a bit of a scare early in the game when Javian McCollum collided with a Seton Hall player. He was a bit woozy as he was helped off the court, but he returned a couple of minutes later.

Seton Hall (4-3) jumped out to an 11-3 lead with 14:25 left in the first half. But the Saints got back into it and tied the score 13-13 on a pair of free throws by Jared Billups with 10:30 left in the first half.

Siena got its first lead with 9:07 remaining in the half on a McCollum jumper. That started a 22-13 run that closed out the first half with the Saints leading 35-27.

The Saints continued to lead in the second half, and were up 50-42 after a McCollum 3-pointer midway through the second half. But the Pirates went on an 11-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Al-Amir Dawes, that gave them a 51-50 lead with 5:52 remaining.

McCollum hit a free throw with 4:57 left to tie the score. The Saints regained the lead with 4:28 to go when Jayce Johnson hit a pair of free throws. But Dawes tied it on a jumper with 3:32 left.

Stormo’s jumper broke the tie, and the Saints were in control the rest of the way. Stormo made a free throw with 19 seconds left to make it a three-point Siena lead. Dawes hit two free throws with eight seconds left to make it 56-55. McCollum hit two free throws with six seconds left, and Michael Eley sealed it with a dunk just before time expired.

McCollum finished with 14 points. Johnson and Stormo had 11 points each, and Eley came off the bench to score 10 points.

“Getting these major wins means a lot because we come in practice, we work hard whatever we do,” McCollum said. “We’ve got guys in the gym all day, every day [and] between classes. I think we’ve earned it and we’ve just got to keep pushing.”

The Saints begin MAAC play Friday when they host Canisius at 7 p.m. at MVP Arena.

“I’m hoping we get 10,000 fans at MVP Arena Friday night for our MAAC opener,” Maciariello said. “But these guys will be ready. We’ve worked too hard to not be. We want to set the tone for the conference. A lot of preseason polls and coaches picked us to be the sixth-place team in the league. I don’t know how many sixth-place teams in the league are beating two power five teams.”

Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, Sports

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