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Siena men's basketball looking for back-to-back wins

Siena men's basketball looking for back-to-back wins

Storylines to know before Saints play Manhattan
Siena men's basketball looking for back-to-back wins
Siena plays Manhattan on Friday in MAAC action.
Photographer: Erica Miller

LOUDONVILLE — Off a triple-overtime MAAC win against Saint Peter’s in which neither team scored 60 points, the Siena College men’s basketball team plays Manhattan 7 p.m. Friday in Albany. 

The teams first met this season a couple weeks ago in Riverdale, where Manhattan (5-6, 10-13) picked up a 72-61 win against Siena (3-7, 7-16). 

Here are five storylines to follow when Siena takes on Manhattan at Times Union Center.

What it means

With a win, eighth-place Siena could find itself tied in the loss column for sixth in the MAAC.

As expected, the conference’s standings have continued to be a mess in what’s a rebuilding season for the bulk of MAAC teams. While Rider is atop the league at 9-2 in conference play, six MAAC teams — more than half the league — already have at least six conference losses.

Siena heads into its game against Manhattan tied for eighth place with Fairfield. With a win for Siena against Manhattan coupled with a Fairfield win at Monmouth, the Saints could enter into a virtual tie for sixth place in the MAAC with seven games to go before the conference tournament.

If Siena loses against Manhattan? Well, the potential is there for the Saints to fall back into a tie for last place depending on the night’s results from around the league.

New-old starting lineup

Siena continues to juggle its starting lineup, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

After missing Monday’s win, it’s possible freshman Jordan Horn (ankle) could play. Horn is Siena’s leading scorer in conference play at 12.2 points per game.

If Horn plays and he rejoins the starting lineup, it’s likely Siena will return to its starting lineup of Horn plus fellow freshmen Roman Penn and Prince Oduro, sophomore Ahsante Shivers and junior Evan Fisher.

The last time that group started? Back in mid-January when the Saints played Manhattan. 

Slow it down

Did you love Monday’s near-point-a-minute crawl against Saint Peter’s?

Well, Siena vs. Manhattan could look fairly similar.

Per kenpom.com, Siena is now playing the slowest-tempo games in the MAAC — and Manhattan is third from the bottom, one spot above Saint Peter’s.

Siena is averaging 65.1 points per game in conference play, while Manhattan’s at 68.1.

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers

Expect a lot of them because no teams in the MAAC are worse about controlling the ball than Siena and Manhattan. 

Per kenpom.com, Siena’s turning the ball over on 22.6 percent of its possessions in conference play, while Manhattan’s at 23.8 percent. That leaves Siena at 10th in the conference and Manhattan at 11th.

Attacking the glass

A common characteristic of Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos’ teams are that they rebound well, particularly on the offensive glass.

That’s the case again this season for the Saints.

In MAAC play, Siena’s leading the conference in defensive rebounding percentage (74.8 percent) and is second in offensive rebounding percentage (33.0 percent), via kenpom.com.

While no Siena player is averaging more than Fisher’s 5.0 rebounds per game, four Siena players are averaging at least 4.2 rebounds per game. Besides Fisher, that list includes Penn (4.9), Oduro (4.6) and Shivers (4.2).

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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