LOUDONVILLE — After winning seven of eight games, Wednesday’s late-game collapse stung for the Siena College men’s basketball team.
For a number of reasons, though, a failed finish like the one the Saints authored against Iona was arriving at some point.
“Basketball is the most humbling sport there is because you have so many games,” Siena head coach Jamion Christian said, “and so you get humbled weekly — or, daily, if you’re not ready.”
After losing a game in which it led by 13 points with less than eight minutes to go, Siena had to wait several days before its next contest. Meanwhile, Sunday’s 2 p.m. opponent Quinnipiac just played Friday and lost 63-61 on its home floor against Marist.
With each team coming off a loss, Siena (8-5 MAAC, 13-13 overall) and Quinnipiac (8-5, 13-11) enter their matchup at Albany’s Times Union Center tied in the league standings.
Six teams range from 9-4 to 8-6 in MAAC play, with Canisius atop that pack. Heading into Sunday’s action, Siena is tied for third place — and the Saints could end the day anywhere from tied for first to tied for fifth depending on the rest of the day’s results.
A matchup of Siena vs. Quinnipiac features two of the MAAC’s top players in Siena freshman Jalen Pickett and Quinnipiac senior Cameron Young.
While Pickett leads the MAAC in assists per game with 6.1, Young is the league’s top scorer at 21.4 points per game. On the season, Young is shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point territory.
According to kenpom.com’s player-ranker feature, Young has been the MAAC’s top player this season and Pickett ranks second.
It’s possible redshirt freshman Jimmy Ratliff will return for the Saints against Quinnipiac.
In a text message, Christian confirmed Ratliff had been able to return to practice on Friday, but in a limited capacity. Ratliff suffered a fracture in his left pinky finger during Siena’s MAAC opener at Saint Peter’s and has missed team’s last dozen games.
In 14 appearances this season, the 6-foot-8 Ratliff has averaged 4.3 points and 20.5 minutes per game.
LET IT FLY
Christian has previously said there are “never enough 3s” taken within his offense.
The same goes for what head coach Baker Dunleavy has set up at Quinnipiac.
Per kenpom.com, Quinnipiac has attempted a MAAC-most 53.6 percent of its shots in conference play from 3-point territory. Siena’s taken 44.2 percent of its league attempts from 3, the third-highest mark in the MAAC.
Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.