After the team’s seven-game win streak and undefeated start to MAAC play ended last weekend with a split against Niagara and Canisius in western New York, Siena men’s basketball will look to solidify its hold of first place in the conference standings with a three-game homestand.
That three-game run at MVP Arena starts Friday night at 7 p.m., when MAAC newcomer Mount St. Mary’s makes its first trip to Albany as a member of the conference.
Here are three things to know heading into the matchup.
SIENA’S HEALTH STATUS
While the Saints (6-1 MAAC, 12-6 overall) got sophomore point guard Javian McCollum back in the lineup last weekend after a back injury forced him to miss the team’s Jan. 8 win over Rider, they’re still dealing with other injury issues. Fifth-year senior wing Jayce Johnson (knee) has missed five straight games and his status to return is still questionable. Senior forward Jordan Kellier (foot) underwent surgery earlier this week and is out for the foreseeable future, with the team hopeful he can return around the time of the MAAC tournament in March.
Those injuries will likely mean a fourth start in the last five games for graduate student forward Michael Baer, who put up a career-high 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting in last Sunday’s 66-62 loss to Canisius.
McCollum leads the Saints in scoring at 16.5 points per game, but graduate student Jackson Stormo has been Siena’s most consistent offensive player on a game-to-game basis. He’s scored at least 10 points in 15 consecutive games to boost his scoring average to 14.5 points per night, and his 56.1% field goal percentage leads the team and ranks fourth overall in the MAAC — and first among players with more than 100 attempted shots.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS
Mount St. Mary’s inaugural season in the MAAC hasn’t gotten off to the smoothest start, with the Mountaineers sitting at 2-5 in conference play and 6-12 overall. Head coach Dan Englestad’s team hasn’t won since a 64-60 victory on Jan. 2 at Canisius, but both of the team’s MAAC wins this season have come on the road. Leading scorers Jalen Benjamin and Dakota Leffew combine to average 27.8 points per game and average double-digit 3-point attempts per night between them.