Saints go roaring into the 20’s

Local Sports

ALBANY, NY – Siena men’s basketball opened the New Year by completing a perfect 4-0 homestand with a 75-72 victory over Monmouth in front of a season-high crowd of 6,273 at the Times Union Center. Elijah Burns and Manny Camper each registered double-doubles for the Saints who rallied from 10 down to improve to a perfect 6-0 at home.

Six players recorded between 9-15 points as part of a balanced attack for Siena (6-5, 2-0) who is off to its first 2-0 start in conference play in 10 years. Camper, who entered play ranked sixth nationally in rebounding, notched his sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds, while Burns tallied his first career double-double with 14 points and 13 caroms for the Saints who held a 47-36 rebounding advantage.

Deion Hammond scored a game-high 23 points for Monmouth (6-6, 0-1) who saw its four-game winning streak snapped. Ray Salnave added 20 points for the Hawks whose last four games have been decided by a total of just 10 points.

Monmouth led for the majority of the first half and by as many as 10 points several times including at the break where they led 36-26. The Hawks held the Saints to just 32% shooting in the first half including 3-11 from three and only 5-13 from the free throw line.

Siena scored eight unanswered points midway through the second half to reclaim their first lead since the opening minutes, at 49-47 with 11:43 to play. Matt Hein, who scored a career-high nine points, hit the game-tying three, while Jalen Pickett stole the ensuing possession and slammed home the go-ahead dunk on the break. The reigning Lou Henson Award National Player of the Week and MAAC Player of the Week finished with 13 points.  

Monmouth responded soon thereafter with nine straight points to go back in front by as many as six at 58-52 with 7:57 to play. But Donald Carey, who tallied 15 points and seven rebounds, capped an 11-3 answer to put Siena on top 63-61 with 5:03 remaining.

The Hawks knotted the score twice thereafter but never reclaimed the lead. Meanwhile Burns, who scored 12 of his points in the second half, tallied the decisive go-ahead put back to stake the Saints to a 68-66 advantage with 1:28 to go. He then added a clutch three-point play on the ensuing possession as Siena sealed just its third win in 14 games over Monmouth since the Hawks joined the MAAC, and first in regular season action in six years dating back to Mar. 2, 2014.

Gary Harris, Jr. rounded out the five double figure scorers with 12 points off the bench for the Saints who erupted for 49 second half points on a much-improved 52% shooting including 5-9 from three and 12-13 from the free throw line.  

Following its first of two season long four-game homestands, Siena has a quick turnaround heading into its first road game in a month. The Saints travel to Lawrenceville, New Jersey to take on Rider Sunday at 2 p.m.

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