Monmouth Puts Chill On Siena

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On a snowy winter’s night in New Jersey, the Siena offense cooled off as they dropped a 63-59 decision to Monmouth at the Multipurpose Athletic Center. Despite a sluggish start it appeared the Saints would again prevail after playing well recently in second halves and winning three of their last four games.

The Saints went on a 19-4 run deep into the first half to gain a 34-25 halftime lead and after a Marquis Wright jumper and a Rob Poole 3-pointer right after the break the lead grew to 10 with 19:05 to go. But, things cooled off from there for the Saints. After scoring 52 points in the second half of Monday’s 79-69 win over Fordham, Siena managed just 25 in the second stanza in this one shooting just 8-24 (33.3%) and committing 15 turnovers.

The Hawks defense clearly troubled the Saints as their trapping defense led to 23 total Siena turnovers. They also blocked 10 Siena shots. The game originally scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. was moved up to a 5 p.m. start due to the wintry weather.

“I just thought our energy level was a little slow,” said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos. “The game got moved up for both teams, so that’s not an excuse.”

Two-time MAAC Rookie of the Week, Josh James led the way for Monmouth (7-7, 1-2) in their first ever MAAC win. Max DiLeo added 10 points and 6 steals. Siena was effective in holding down Monmouth’s talented backcourt Deon Jones (4 pts.) and Andrew Nicholas (6 pts.) who entered the game averaging 17.1 and 15.0 respectively.

Rob Poole led Siena (5-9, 1-2) with game-highs of 21 points and nine rebounds. Evan Hymes scored 10 points, but shot just 4-11 from the field and committed 6 turnovers. Lavon Long chipped in with 9 points and 6 rebounds and Maurice White added 8 points.

“They played harder than we did, so that’s on me as a head coach,” said Patsos. “I don’t think we handled beating Hofstra and Fordham very well.”

The Saints return home Saturday to host Rider at Times Union Center at 7 p.m. In the first of three straight MAAC home games.

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