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Saints Season Ends as Late Surge Falls Short vs Iona

lavon long drive

Siena pushed top seed Iona to the brink but in the end it was the hot hand of AJ English that proved to be the difference as Iona defeated the Saints 74-71.

Iona entered the game a heavy favorite, though you certainly would not have thought that given the talk of Iona Head Coach Tim Cluess. Cluess railed on the tournament being held in Albany in front of Siena’s home crowd and stressed the disadvantage his top seeded Gaels would face. His words looked hollow in a first half that saw his Gaels jump to a double digit lead. The Gaels were on fire early from three, shooting 7-13 overall in the half, and shot 12-16 from free throw line but entered the locker room up only 8, 45-37. It was incredible that the Saints were able to keep the deficit to single digits as they shot only 1-10 from three in the half and attempted zero free throws.

The second half saw the Gaels begin to cool but the lead continued to hover around the 10 point margin for the first 13 minutes of play. Lavon Long threw down a transition dunk and followed with a layup and one to cut the lead to seven. Javion Ogunyemi followed with a put back and Ryan Oliver added two via free throws and the Saints were on a 9-0 run and trailed by only 3 with 4:25 to play. Iona finally ended the run and pushed the lead back to seven. The Saints answered back and were able to get to within two on a Ryan Oliver three with that sent the Times Union Center crowd into a frenzy. For a moment one thought Cluess’ worst nightmare was coming true, but that was as close as Siena would get. AJ English made sure the Gaels would stay in front by answering with a three of his own with 33 seconds to play. The Saints were able to capitalize on a Casimir miss on the front end of a one and one to get back to within three, but time simply ran out on the Saints run and their season.

AJ English led all scorers with 32 points on 9-14 shooting including 6-10 from three and a perfect 8-8 from the line. For the Saints Lavon Long had a team high 17 points followed by 16 for Ryan Oliver. Seniors Rob Poole and Evan Hymes both saw their Siena careers come to an end. Poole had 14 points and 4 rebounds while Hymes had 8 points and 3 assists. Javion Ogunyemi was a presence inside all game and had 8 points and 9 rebounds while Marquis Wright added 8 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds.

The Saints were out rebounded 34-33 but committed only 8 turnovers to Iona’s 15. Iona shot 14-21 from the free throw line while Siena was 6-8, all in the second half. Iona shot 49% from the floor and 36% from three while Siena shot 46% and 23% respectively.

With the loss a Siena season that saw the Saints picked to finish second in the MAAC ends with a record of 11-20.

See also: Siena Coach Jimmy Patsos Reflects On A Tough Season

For postgame comments, Click Here: Postgame Comments Following Siena Loss To Iona In MAAC Quarterfinals

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