Sitting alongside his head coach Carmen Maciariello and veteran teammate Jackson Stormo, Andrew Platek vowed the Saints would be better after a disappointing defeat.
“And it starts with me and Jackson leading these guys and setting the right example,” Platek said. “So we take responsibility for this, and we’re going to learn from it and get better for Delaware.”
The “this” was something of a peculiarity. The Siena men’s basketball team, a mid-major MAAC program, had just lost a close game on the home floor of high-major Georgetown of the Big East . . . and the Saints knew they’d let a winnable opportunity escape from them, a victory undone by some sloppy lapses during the 40 minutes of action. The Saints weren’t happy to have played close against a team from a better conference, and understood their lack of consistent focus — ironically, a consistent problem so far this season — was what got in the way of securing their third high-major win of the season more than anything the Hoyas did on the court this past Wednesday.
Maciariello termed Wednesday’s outing a “disgusting effort,” while Stormo added “it was a lack of effort and a lack of focus,” that kept the Saints from pushing their record to 6-3 rather than falling to 5-4. All in all, that’s a solid start for the Saints given the schedule they’ve played, but a win against Delaware is now needed to keep themselves from a .500 mark through 10 games.
Ahead of Sunday’s 2 p.m. game at Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Delaware, the 5-4 Blue Hens have won their last two games. Coming off making an appearance in the NCAA tournament, the Colonial Athletic Association program owns nice wins against Colgate and Davidson, while its three other wins have come against a non-Division I program and two Division I programs — Hartford and Delaware State — that rank among the bottom-five teams in the country, according to kenpom.com’s database.
Three players are averaging double-digit scoring for Delaware, led by Jameer Nelson Jr. whose father was a college star at Saint Joseph’s before playing 14 seasons in the NBA. After starting his college career playing for former Siena head coach Jamion Christian at George Washington, Nelson is averaging 18.8 points per game in his second campaign playing for Blue Hens head coach Martin Ingelsby whose program defeated Siena 83-63 last year.
Only three Saints who played in that game are on this season’s team for Maciariello. Like Delaware, three Saints — sophomore Javian McCollum, and graduate students Platek and Stormo — are averaging double-digit scoring. McCollum, Siena’s leading per-game scorer at 17.6 points, is coming off an uncharacteristic performance that saw him score a dozen points, but only make 4 of 14 shots. Through 33 career college games, McCollum has made 47.9% of his shots, and the 28.6% showing from the field against Georgetown was the lowest of McCollum’s career in a game that saw him attempt at least five shots.
Against Georgetown, though, what was more concerning than an off shooting night for one player was how the Saints appeared to relax for a consequential spell. After moving ahead 56-50 in Washington, D.C., the Saints committed a couple turnovers and missed a couple defensive assignments as Georgetown put together a game-changing 12-0 run in a span of approximately 90 seconds.
Such spans of play have been too common through the Saints’ first nine games, especially for a club that views itself as a MAAC contender and has backed that up with several quality wins.
“I do think they understand how hard they have to play,” Maciariello said. “Now, if we can do it for 40 minutes, that’s when you have success, right? If you do the details, play hard for 40 minutes and do all the little things, the score is going to take care of itself.”
This weekend’s game — the Saints’ last until a Dec. 19 rivalry matchup against St. Bonaventure — represents Siena’s next chance to play a complete game, something the team’s leaders don’t think the club has done yet.
“You got to come and do the job, and you got to do it every day in practice and you got to do it on the court when the lights are on,” Maciariello said. “If you can do that, we’ll be a good team — or, we’ll be inconsistent if we show up for spurts.”
Contact Michael Kelly at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMichaelKelly.
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Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, Sports