Siena Drops One On The Road At Fordham

A first half scoring drought proved to be too much for Siena to overcome as they dropped a game that went down to the wire to Fordham Monday night, 69-67. Powered by a 16-0 first half run, Fordham held on and then denied Siena on a potential game-tying final possession to knock off the Saints.

Sophomore point guard Marquis Wright single handedly kept the Saints in the game, scoring a career-high 31 points, but the rest of his team struggled offensively for most of the night and fell short despite the effort.

An impassioned Siena coach Jimmy Patsos expressed his disappointment after the game.

“We have to get better. I am not doing a good job right now because I cannot convey to my team as a unit, as a whole, to play 40 minutes,” Patsos said. “I am trying, I’ve been trying everything I can. I am being mean, I am being nice. We are having hard practices, we are having rest days. I am trying everything I can to get this team to play 40 minutes and forget about last year’s CBI Championship.”

Siena got off to a strong start early on and after an 8-0 run led 13-5, with 14:08 to go in the first half. Soon after, the Rams seized the momentum and held Siena scoreless over an 8:33 span, scoring 16 straight points of their own to lead 26-18 until Wright finally broke the ice with a lay in at the 3:20 mark.

After starting the game 7 of 14 from the field, Siena went 2 of 18 for the rest of the first half and trailed at the break, by seven points, 30-23. Fordham would build on that lead upping the deficit to as many as 13 points on three different occasions, the last coming with 13:45 to go.

After shooting just 9-32 (28.1%) as a team from the field in the first 20 minutes, the Saints hit 16-28 (57.1%) field goals in the second half.

Siena battled back, pulling within one possession four different times. After Fordham’s Antwoine Anderson missed the backend of 2-shot foul, the Saints rebounded trailing 69-67 with 9 seconds to go. Pat Cole raced down court and found Brett Bisping underneath the basket, but Eric Paschall came through with the rejection at the buzzer to preserve the win for the Rams.

Wright shot 12-15 from the field, and 3-4 from beyond the arc. In addition to his game-high 31 points, he added 2 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists, committing just 1 turnover in 39 minutes of play.

“Nobody played harder or better tonight in the whole country, than Marquis Wright,” Patsos said. “This young man played as well as I’ve seen anybody play at the point guard position, and I’ve coached a lot of good point guards.”

Lavon Long had 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks for Siena. Bisping added 7 points and 7 rebounds and Pat Cole was solid scoring 7 points with 5 assists and 3 boards off the bench to help feed the comeback.

Paschall led the Rams (2-4) with 19 points. Anderson and Mandell Thomas each had 18. Ryan Rhoomes had 17 rebounds to go with 6 points and 5 blocked shots.

“I’m upset,” Patsos said. “I’m mostly upset at myself, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team for fighting back, I couldn’t be prouder of Marquis.”

The Saints (2-3) will look to bounce back as they return to the Times Union Center for the first time since November 14 when they host Quinnipiac in their MAAC opener and the annual Gold Rush Game Friday at 7 p.m.

Here is video of the postgame press conference with Siena coach Jimmy Patsos and sophomore point guard Marquis Wright who scored a career-high 31 points.

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