Even the one guy who was making shots couldn’t make the one that mattered for Siena on Tuesday night.
The Saints clawed their way back to have a chance to beat Fairfield at the Times Union Center, only to watch Edwin Ubiles miss a short turnaround in the lane with six seconds on the clock that left the Stags with a 53-52 victory.
For Siena, by far the highest scoring team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, it was the second-lowest output in a game since Fran McCaffery became head coach three seasons ago and was 27 points under the Saints’ average this season.
Siena made just six baskets in the first half to fall behind, 30-24, and other than Ubiles, who was 7-for-15 for 15 points, the rest of the team was 11-for-38 (28.9 percent).
The final possession started with an inbounds pass with 9.5 seconds left, Siena worked it in to Ubiles and his turnaround from straight on hit the backboard and rim. He and Ryan Rossiter volleyballed the rebound hard off the glass into the middle of the lane, and the Stags’ Jonathan Han tracked it down with :00.4 left.
“That was the way we drew it up, and I just missed the shot,” Ubiles said. “Down the stretch, we missed a lot of shots we normally make. Wide-open threes, pullups, and the ball just didn’t go our way.”
“We got a real good look at it there right at the end, point-blank range,” McCaffery said. “Edwin’s going to make that most of the time.”
Siena had to rely on its freshmen to play much of the game, since Alex Franklin and Josh Duell didn’t play because of injuries, and junior guard Kenny Hasbrouck was saddled with foul trouble.
Franklin was in uniform, but decided before the game not to play because he didn’t feel comfortable with his back, which he injured against Holy Cross. Duell was in street clothes after getting elbowed in the face in Sunday’s victory over Saint Peter’s. He broke a bone in the upper part of his mouth and saw an oral surgeon on Monday.
Hasbrouck, who played 27 minutes before fouling out with one second left, was held to three points on 1-for-7 shooting.
“I wasn’t really thinking about my misses too much. They just wouldn’t drop for me,” he said. “If I had made more shots, we would’ve won the game, and it would’ve been easier for my teammates to get into their grooves. I think I’m better than most players, and tonight, I didn’t show it.”
“Our goal was to come in here and defend and play with a lot more pride than we showed in our building,” Stags head coach Ed Cooley said. “Obviously, having Hasbrouck in foul trouble and not having Franklin and Duell, they were very, very instrumental in Fairfield. Not having those three key ingredients really changed their team from what we thought [they would have].”
Siena won at Fairfield on
Dec. 7, 74-61.
This time, the Stags built an
11-point lead late in the first half and held on for dear life in the second half as the Saints chipped away but never really got their offense in gear.
The eventual winning points came on a three by Mike Evanovich to give the Stags a 53-48 lead with 2:52 left.
That was just about it for the scoring, but plenty of wild action took place in the final minutes.
Rossiter scored inside on a feed from Ubiles, then tipped in Ubiles’ miss with 1:43 left to make it
Siena’s Ronald Moore, who had six offensive and nine total rebounds from the point guard position, had to come out of the game with a leg cramp with 1:43 left, and his replacement, freshman Chris De La Rosa, missed a three late in the shot clock with 42 seconds left.
Moore came back in with 23.7 seconds left and Fairfield inbounding, but the Stags’ pass was tipped into the backcourt, leading to a footrace between Siena freshman Clarence Jackson and Fairfield’s Marty O’Sullivan. That led to a jump ball and Siena’s possession with 18.6 seconds left when just about everyone in the game wound up in a pileup on the floor.
Siena gave it right back, as Rossiter passed to a spot vacated by Ubiles with 13.3 seconds left, but Tay Fisher was able to track down a loose ball between two Stags players on the sideline to get it back with 9.5 seconds left, setting up the play for Ubiles.
“I never thought that we were out of that game,” Fisher said. “Tonight just wasn’t our night, offensively.”
Hawkins 1-4 0-0 2, Evanovich 3-8 0-0 9, Nero 4-10 2-4 10, Han 1-5 0-0 3, Allen 4-5 0-0 9, Jordan 1-2 0-0 3, M. O’Sullivan 1-2 1-1 3, Edney 4-8 0-0 8, Johnson 3-7 0-0 6, Middleton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-51 3-5 53.
Ubiles 7-15 0-0 15, Rossiter 3-7 5-6 11, Fisher 2-7 2-2 7, Moore 2-7 0-0 4, Hasbrouck 1-7 0-1 3, De La Rosa 0-1 1-2 1, Jackson 3-8 1-2 9, Magee 0-1 0-0 0, Priestley 0-0 2-4 2. Totals: 18-53 11-17 52.
Halftime: Fairfield 30, Siena 24. Three-point goals: Fairfield 6-16 (Evanovich 3-5, Nero 0-3, Han 1-2, Allen 1-2, Jordan 1-2, Edney 0-2); Siena 5-23 (Ubiles 1-3, Fisher 1-6, Moore 0-3, Hasbrouck 1-5, De La Rosa 0-1, Jackson 2-5). Rebounds: Fairfield 33 (Nero 8); Siena 35 (Rossiter, Moore 9). Assists: Fairfield 11 (Han 6); Siena 10 (Moore 6). Total fouls: Fairfield 17; Siena 12. Attendance: 4,308.