ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Siena Basketball went on a 20-3 run down the stretch to shake crosstown foe Saint Rose 77-70 in exhibition action in the Saints long-awaited return to the Times Union Center. Nick Hopkins scored a game-high 20 points for Siena which played its first game in downtown Albany in front of the home crowd in exactly 600 days.
Aidan Carpenter added 15 points for the Saints who had last played downtown in front of the Siena faithful on Mar. 4, 2020, when they throttled Niagara 77-55 on Senior Day to complete a perfect 14-0 season at the Times Union Center.
Division II Saint Rose challenged the Saints in what was a tight game throughout. Neither team led by more than five points in the first half, with Siena taking a 39-35 lead at the break.
The Golden Knights put up a 13-2 run early in the second half to forge ahead by as many as eight points at 55-47 with 13:20 remaining. But when it mattered most, the Saints clamped down defensively to rally for the victory.
Siena forced Saint Rose to miss eight of its ensuing nine shots while turning it over five times during their decisive response. The 20-3 run spanning 7:31 was capped by a Carpenter put-back to stake the Saints to their largest lead of the evening at 67-58 with 5:23 remaining.
Overall, Siena swiped 15 steals – six of which came from freshman reserve Jared Billups in an active debut – while turning 23 Golden Knights turnovers into 31 points. Meanwhile, the Saints put the game away at the free-throw line, connecting on 16 of their 20 attempts (80%) while Saint Rose shot just 9-17 (53%).
Iowa transfer Michael Baer joined Billups in providing a spark off the bench, contributing 12 points on 6-9 shooting. Billups added seven points and seven rebounds to his stat line for Siena, who competed in their first exhibition in four years dating back to the 2017-18 season, and first at the Times Union Center in 11 years. The Saints defeated Division II Adelphi 67-59 in downtown Albany on Oct. 30, 2010.
Adam Anderson scored 16 points to lead the Golden Knights, while Shane O’Dell added 15.
Siena will now have 15 days to prepare for its regular-season opener when the Saints travel to sister-school and 23rd ranked St. Bonaventure for the Br. Ed Coughlin Franciscan Cup on Tuesday, Nov. 9.