Manhattan Outlasts Siena

lavon long drive

Lavon Long scored a career-high 20 points and Siena put forth a much improved effort from their previous outing, but in the end Manhattan outlasted the Saints 87-79 Friday night in Riverdale. The Jasper’s Emmy Andujar scored 20 points of his own to lead the defending MAAC champions to their eighth win in the last 10 games.

“It was a great Friday night MAAC game,” Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said. “It came down to the last four minutes and we have to execute better. We continue to get better, but that was a great basketball game.”

The game was close throughout and after trailing by just two points, 43-41 at the half, the Saints were twice able to take the lead in the second half. The first came on a Long three-pointer with 12:53 to go and again with 11:40 remaining on a Long lay in to make the score 59-58 Siena.

Manhattan was able to retake the lead and extended it to 8 points with four and a half minutes to go but another spurt by the Saints, capped by a pair of Long free throws, cut the lead to two with 2:05 to go. However, Siena was unable to score on their final five possessions and Manhattan hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

“The one play I’ll point out is the ball was on the ground and they dove on it and we didn’t,” said Patsos. “We had a chance to dive on the ball with four minutes to go and we didn’t. We should have 5 guys diving on the ball not zero. That’s why you’ve gotta play 40 minutes. I saw us go to the hole a couple of times and not make layups. You’ve gotta make layups.”

Five players finished in double figures for Siena (8-12, 5-6). Long added 7 rebounds and 3 assists to his 20 points. Rob Poole scored 14 points, shooting 4-7 from three-point land. That moves him to 15th all time in scoring at Siena and 6th in three-pointers made. Evan Hymes added 12 points with 3 assists and 2 steals and Marquis Wright also scored 12 points with 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Freshman Jimmy Paige tallied a new career-high 10 points with 3 boards. Javion Ogunyemi had 8 points with a career-high 11 rebounds.

Manhattan (10-10, 7-4) also placed 5 players in double figures. Andujar added 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals to his 20 points while shooting 7-10 for the field. Shane Richards scored 14 points. Ashton Pankey and Rich Williams each scored 13 and RaShawn Stores added 10.

Both teams shot well with Manhattan hitting 54% from the field for the game and 61% in the second half. They nailed 9 of 15 (60%) three-pointers. Siena shot 49% for the game from the field and made 9-16 (56.3%) from three.

Manhattan’s pressure defense bothered Siena at times as they committed 22 total turnovers including 7 by Wright and 6 by Long.

The Saints also struggled with foul trouble as Ogunyemi, Long and Wright all fouled out. Poole played the final 17 minutes with four fouls and Hymes also finished with 4 fouls.

“We’ve made great strides, we just said `Siena Pride’ in there (the lockerroom),” Patsos said. “If we play like that the rest of the year everything will be fine for us.”

The Saints return to the Times Union Center on Monday night to face Rider. Tip off is at 7 pm.

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