ALBANY — A week after producing the worst showing in what had already been a disappointing start to the season, the Siena College men’s basketball team hit a new low Thursday night.
In an effort head coach Jimmy Patsos called “lacking passion and emotion,” the Saints fell 76-60 to Vermont to cap their non-conference schedule. A week after falling by 20 points at Hofstra, Siena offered little in the form of resistance on its Times Union Center homecourt that will host the MAAC Tournament later this season.
“I don’t see our passion and emotion right now, and as a head coach I’m very disappointed in that. I’ll do the best I can to try and get it back,” Patsos said. “I’m not going to go crazy and [get] fired up on the sidelines if the players aren’t going to care enough to want to win for 40 minutes.”
Siena (4-9) trailed by at least nine points for the final 13:33 against Vermont (9-5), which received a game-high 17 points from reserve redshirt senior Darren Payen.
Redshirt senior Brett Bisping led Siena with 10 points and 14 rebounds. He wore a blank, seemingly shocked expression on his face throughout the night’s post-game press conference as he sat alongside Patsos. That look, Bisping said, was an accurate reflection of his state of mind after Siena’s latest loss.
“I was not expecting this outcome tonight,” he said. “I mean, I’m just really disappointed. It’s frustrating. Yeah, you know, I am a little shocked about it, but you’ve got to stay positive, bounce back tomorrow and get ready for MAAC play.”
But Bisping is also realistic. Asked if Siena — which was picked second in the MAAC preseason poll — has played like a team capable of winning its conference, he did not hesitate before answering.
“It doesn’t look like it,” Bisping said.
Patsos shook things up to start the game for Siena, removing struggling senior Marquis Wright along with freshman Ahsante Shivers from the starting lineup in favor of freshman Khalil Richard and sophomore Nico Clareth. The changes did not work out. Siena missed four shots and had four turnovers before it scored, while Wright — Siena’s second-leading scorer heading into the game — ended up scoring four points on three shots in 18 minutes.
Wright has struggled since a hot start to the season. Becoming the focal point of opposing defenses, Patsos said, has not been easy for the senior.
“I think he’s got to figure out whether he wants to grind it at this level,” Patsos said.
That decision, the coach said, is one several Saints need to make.
“Right now, I see some guys that are pretty content, so I’ll deal with that myself. I’ll get to the bottom of it,” Patsos said. “There’s no panic, but we’re going to find out what’s going on and I’m gonna find out who wants to play with passion and emotion.”
Despite a height advantage, Siena was out-rebounded 40-31 and outscored 42-28 in the paint. As a team, the Saints only managed nine assists against 15 turnovers.
Next up for Siena is a trip to the western part of the state to resume MAAC play against Canisius and Niagara. The Saints, 1-1 in league play, are winless in eight tries on the road this season, and did little during their non-conference slate to show they are ready for MAAC play.
“The emotional level of our team is not where it needs to be in the MAAC. . . . This is a passionate, caring, emotional, grind-it-out, tough league,” Patsos said. “I don’t see that resiliency in us. Maybe 2017 will bring me that.”
Lamb 4-9 0-0 8, Urquhart 1-3 0-0 2, Bell-Haynes 5-12 6-10 16, Duncan 2-9 1-2 7, Steidl 2-7 4-4 8, Hearlihy 0-0 0-0 0, Payen 7-9 3-4 17, Ward 1-5 2-2 5, Wills 3-3 2-5 8, Rohrer 2-2 1-1 5. Totals: 27-59 19-28 76.
Ogunyemi 4-11 1-1 9, Long 2-4 2-6 8, Bisping 3-8 3-6 10, Richard 2-4 1-2 5, Clareth 4-12 1-2 10, Wright 1-3 2-2 4, Huerter 0-0 0-0 0, Smithen 0-0 0-0 0, Merrill 0-0 0-0 0, Shivers 1-1 4-4 6, Fisher 1-1 0-0 2, Friday 1-3 4-4 6. Totals: 19-47 18-27 60.
Vermont 36 40 — 76
Siena 30 30 — 60
Three-point goals: Vermont 3-18 (Bell-Haynes 0-3, Duncan 2-7, Steidl 0-3, Ward 1-5); Siena 4-10 (Long 2-2, Bisping 1-1, Richard 0-1, Clareth 1-6). Rebounds: Vermont 40 (Lamb, Steidl, Wills 6); Siena 31 (Bisping 14). Assists: Vermont 11 (Duncan, Steidl 3); Siena 9 (Wright 4). Total fouls: Vermont 26 (Duncan 5); Siena 24 (Bisping 5). Technical fouls: Vermont 0; Siena 1 (Bench). Attendance: 6,176.
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at 395-3109, [email protected], or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter. For more coverage of Siena basketball, head to https://dailygazette.com/blogs/the-outlet.