Carpenter carves up Fairfield in first collegiate start

Sports

Fairfield, C.T. (NEWS10) — Freshman guard Aidan Carpenter capped his first collegiate start by scoring 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, as Siena Basketball extended the nation’s third longest active winning streak to 14 straight with a 75-68 victory at Fairfield. Senior captain Manny Camper added a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds to go along with six assists for the Saints, who are off to the program’s first 4-0 start in 22 years.

A native of nearby Hamden, Connecticut, Carpenter followed up a solid freshman debut Saturday with a remarkable performance Sunday while getting the start in place of injured MAAC Preseason Player of the Year Jalen Pickett. Carpenter shot 8-11 from the field, posted a team-best plus-minus of +12, and didn’t commit a turnover in more than 36 minutes of action while serving as the primary ball handler for Siena (4-0, 4-0).

Sophomore guard Jordan King contributed 18 points including a clutch three followed by victory-clinching free throws late for the Saints, who last started a season 4-0 during the 1998-99 campaign. Siena’s 14-game win streak trails only Gonzaga (16) and Winthrop (16) for the nation’s longest through the weekend, while matching the second-longest winning streak in program history, set in 1988-89. The Saints won a program record 15 straight games during the 2009-10 season.

Former Siena commit Jake Wojcik led the way again for Fairfield (2-11, 2-6) with 18 points. Jesus Cruz added 14 of the Stags’ 28 bench points on 7-11 shooting.

A seesaw first half featured three ties and 13 lead changes. Siena, which shot 64% from the field in the opening stanza, scored the final four points to claim a 34-31 lead at the break. However, Fairfield forced nine first half turnovers, to stay close.

The Stags scored seven unanswered early in the second half to draw even one final time at 43-all on a Cruz bucket with 15:24 to go. The Saints responded with a 10-2 run capped by a strong driving finish in traffic by Carpenter to go in front 53-45 with 11:45 remaining.

Fairfield mounted one final rally, narrowing the deficit to as little as two at 54-52 with 8:37 left, but Siena clamped down to score the ensuing six points to stretch the lead back to eight. The Saints converted 10 of their 13 free throws over the final five minutes to salt away their sixth straight win over the Stags.

Jackson Stormo rounded out four double figure scorers with 10 points on 5-6 shooting off the bench for Siena, who shot 56% overall and held a commanding 32-21 rebounding advantage.

The Saints – who are in the midst of a span where they play eight of 10 on the road following their most recently revised schedule – are slated to return to action Friday night at Rider at 7 p.m. 

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