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Siena men's basketball loses at Marist

Siena men's basketball loses at Marist

Saints made 22 of 68 shots
Siena men's basketball loses at Marist
Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos is shown during Friday's loss at Marist.
Photographer: Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter

POUGHKEEPSIE — Off its best week of the season, the Siena College men’s basketball team went into MAAC play with confidence and with the schedule lined up for the Saints to take advantage of their surge.

That came crashing down Friday night at Marist, where the Saints delivered a dismal showing a night after their next opponent — Quinnipiac — upset Monmouth.

“I said the league’s wide open,” Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos said. “I guess I was right.”

Probably too right for his liking.

Siena struggled throughout a 63-58 loss to the Red Foxes, who the Saints had defeated in 18 of the teams’ previous 22 meetings. Siena shot 22 of 68 from the field and couldn’t stop fouling Marist on defense, as the Red Foxes attempted 40 free throws.

“At the end of the day,” Patsos said, “they were a little tougher than we were.”

Siena (0-1, 4-10) had its chances late against Marist (1-0, 3-10), anyway, but kept kicking them away. After trailing by as many as 14 points in the second half, Siena got within 49-44 with 9:49 to go after a quick five-point spurt from sophomore Ahsante Shivers.

From there, though, Siena sputtered. Siena had a number of opportunities to get itself within a one-possession game of Marist, but couldn’t get there until freshman Roman Penn made it 60-58 with a pair of free throws with 45 seconds to play. The Saints missed their final two shots from there, as Marist escaped with a 1-0 start in league play.

Siena junior Nico Clareth took the Saints’ final shot of the game, a miss that ended his 2 of 16 shooting night. Clareth, Siena’s leading scorer on the season, scored seven points, and Patsos took him off the floor for a key possession late in the game with the Saints down 3.

“When your premier player goes 2 for 16,” Patsos said, “how many teams are really going to win?”

Especially since Clareth had company in shooting poorly. Seven Saints took at least five shots, and only sophomore Khalil Richard made at least half. Richard finished 4 of 7 for nine points.

“I thought we guarded extremely well,” Marist head coach Mike Maker said. “We did a really good job on Nico Clareth, who is a handful. He’s one of the marquee players in our league.”

Shivers led the Saints with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Penn had 11 points on 13 shots.

“A lot of shots went in and out,” Shivers said. “It was just one of those nights.”

Both teams struggled during Friday’s first half, which ended with the teams tied at 31. The clubs combined to shoot 20 of 56 during the first 20 minutes, while Marist missed 11 consecutive shots at one point. The Red Foxes, though, led for nearly all of the first half before a 6-1 Siena run ended the period, a stretch redshirt junior Kadeem Smithen highlighted with a dunk.

After halftime, though, Marist seized control with a 16-2 run during which junior Ryan Funk scored 12 of his 17 points. Those dozen points all came in a row for Funk, who started his personal 12-0 run with three 3-pointers.

As for Siena, Shivers — seemingly unintentionally — offered up the correct pun to describe the Saints’ start to the second half.

“We went in a funk the first four minutes coming out of halftime,” Shivers said.

Junior Brian Parker led Marist with 18 points. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound guard was able to bully around Penn for much of the night.

“Roman learned that he better get in the weight room some more,” Patsos said of his freshman point guard, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 170 pounds. “That he hasn’t arrived yet. They haven’t handed him the first-team, all-rookie-league trophy yet.”

Siena lost despite crushing Marist on the glass. The Saints grabbed 93.8 percent of available rebounds on their defensive end of the court, plus 30.7 percent on their offensive backboard.

Patsos said he had been concerned about Friday’s game after a lackluster practice Thursday. The loss against a squad expected to finish toward the bottom of the conference, he said, should serve as a wake-up call for the youthful Saints as they get started in MAAC play.

“Nobody hands you anything,” Patsos said. “This isn’t a pretty league.”

SIENA

Oduro 3-8 1-5 7, Fisher 0-0 0-0 0, Richard 4-7 1-2 9, Penn 4-13 3-3 11, Shivers 5-11 0-1 12, Bentley 2-3 0-0 4, Camper 0-0 0-0 0, Smithen 1-5 3-4 5, Horn 1-5 0-0 3, Clareth 2-16 2-2 7, Degnan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-68 10-17 58.

MARIST

Dozic 0-1 0-1 0, Funk 4-8 5-8 17, Sjoberg 2-2 3-6 7, Parker 5-10 8-12 18, Knudsen 3-10 7-7 13, Lamb 2-5 2-6 6, Williams 1-3 0-0 2, McClenaghan 0-0 0-0 0, Gummerus 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 17-40 25-40 63.

Halftime score: Siena 31, Marist 31. Three-point shooting: Siena 4-23 (Richard 0-2, Penn 0-4, Shivers 2-5, Smithen 0-1, Horn 0-5, Clareth 1-6), Marist 4-18 (Dozic 0-1, Funk 4-7, Parker 0-1, Knudsen 0-5, Lamb 0-2, Williams 0-1, Gummerus 0-1). Rebounds: Siena 45 (Shivers 12), Marist 36 (Sjoberg 8). Assists: Siena 9 (Penn 4), Marist 5 (Knudsen 3). Turnovers: Siena 13, Marist 16. Total fouls: Siena 27, Marist 21. Attendance: 1,737.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter. For more college basketball coverage, head to dailygazette.com/blogs/the-outlet.

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