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Siena men's basketball closes season at 8-24

Siena men's basketball closes season at 8-24

Patsos: Season was "not acceptable"
Siena men's basketball closes season at 8-24
Jimmy Patsos is shown during Thursday's game.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

ALBANY — At the close of a lost season for the Siena College men’s basketball program, head coach Jimmy Patsos said the responsibility for it rests with him.

“Yeah, I mean, that’s not acceptable,” Patsos said after his team’s season-ending 67-58 loss to Quinnipiac Thursday in the first round of the MAAC Tournament. “At this level, you’ve got to win two out of four games. Three out of four games is when you’re a really good mid-major. You’re not going to win four out of four games at the mid-major level because you play money games. One out of four is not good enough.”

But that’s what Siena managed from its 2017-18 campaign — an 8-24 record and an first-round exit from the conference tournament a year after falling by a point in overtime of the MAAC championship game.

That team, though, had four seniors who all scored more than 1,000 points in their careers. It also had Nico Clareth, who departed from the Siena program midway through this season.

After a nine-point loss which — again — exposed the many limitations of this season’s roster, Patsos pointed to “recruiting lapsing two years ago” as leaving this season’s Saints lacking in talent and experience. Against Quinnipiac, Siena made 20 of 62 field goals and 4 of 20 shots from behind the 3-point line.

“I did a bad job recruiting,” Patsos said. “You know, that’s on me.”

Siena athletic director John D’Argenio declined comment after Siena’s season-ending loss.

That defeat was largely inevitable after the way Siena (No. 10, 8-24) started things up against Quinnipiac (No. 7, 11-20). While both teams entered Thursday’s game having lost eight of their last nine, Quinnipiac played like a top seed and made its first eight shots as it opened up a 21-5 lead.

“First half, they were hitting shots,” Siena redshirt junior Kadeem Smithen said. “We weren’t.”

In all, Quinnipiac made 14 of 26 shots before halftime — and Siena made 7 of 31, as the Saints went into intermission down 40-16 in their home arena.

After halftime, the Saints were better. As they often did this season, they played with energy and fought when they could have packed it in for the night. Siena got closest in the second half after an 11-0 run brought it within 63-55 with 1:29 to go.

“We responded to their hit,” Siena freshman Jordan Horn said.

But not before it. That was one of the issues with this season’s Saints, a youthful group which lost its top scorer — Clareth — a couple games into MAAC play, and then lost its point guard and best all-around player — freshman Roman Penn — a month ago to a season-ending injury.

“Roman was our heart and everything on the court,” Horn said.

Without Penn, Siena lost eight of nine games to close its season.

“My heart sank when Roman Penn went down,” Patsos said. “I’m not that dumb. I’m stupid, but I’m not that dumb.”

In its season-ending defeat, Siena received 12 points from sophomore Khalil Richard and 10 from Horn. Freshman Prince Oduro, a MAAC All-Rookie selection, had eight points in 21 minutes before fouling out.

For the season, Siena’s 24 losses tied a program-worst mark. It never won back-to-back games and finished 1-15 on the road. The only player to finish the season averaging double-digit scoring was Clareth, who played in 15 games.

Patsos expressed optimism about several players in his program, such as Oduro who the coach still views as someone who could be the “best player in the league in two years.” Between Oduro and Penn, Siena has two building blocks at key positions — but more talent needs to surround those two players going forward.

Patsos said that will happen.

He credited Siena’s fans for sticking with the team through this season, and said the Saints need to reward them next season.

“Believe me,” Patsos said, “we’re going to get better.”

SIENA

Oduro 4-8 0-1 8, Fisher 3-13 0-1 6, Smithen 3-7 0-1 6, Richard 4-12 2-4 12, Horn 2-11 4-5 10, Bentley 1-2 5-6 6, Camper 2-3 3-3 7, Huerter 0-3 0-0 0, Diamond 0-0 0-0 0, Shivers 0-1 0-0 0, Degnan 1-1 0-0 2, Friday 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 20-62 14-21 58.

QUINNIPIAC

Rigoni 6-10 0-0 17, Bundu 1-2 0-0 2, Young 4-12 3-7 14, Washington 2-4 4-4 8, Kelly 6-11 3-4 18, Robinson 1-2 0-0 2, Chigha 1-2 0-0 2, Daniels 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 23-46 10-15 67.

Halftime score: Quinnipiac 40, Siena 16. Three-point shooting: Siena 4-20 (Fisher 0-2, Smithen 0-2, Richard 2-5, Horn 2-8, Bentley 0-1, Huerter 0-2), Quinnipiac 11-26 (Rigoni 5-8, Young 3-8, Washington 0-2, Kelly 3-6, Robinson 0-1, Chigha 0-1).

Rebounds: Siena 31 (Horn 5), Quinnipiac 41 (Young 11). Assists: Siena 7 (Bentley 2), Quinnipiac 9 (Washington 3). Turnovers: Siena 6, Quinnipiac 18. Total fouls: Siena 20, Quinnipiac 16. Fouled out: Oduro.

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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