ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – BIG EAST transfers Ant Nelson and Jose Perez combined to score 40 of Manhattan’s 49 points after halftime as the Jaspers overcame a 13-point second half deficit to rally past two-time defending MAAC Regular Season Champion Siena Basketball 77-72 in overtime in the league lid-lifter.
Nelson and Perez each scored 20 points apiece following intermission to send Manhattan (6-1, 1-0) to its fourth straight win and best start in 20 years. The Seton Hall transfer Nelson finished with a game-high 24 points and swiped five of 13 steals for the Jaspers, who entered play ranked 25th nationally in steals (10.0). A transfer from Marquette, Perez added 23 points. The duo combined to shoot 17-22 from the charity stripe, as Manhattan was 21-28 (75%) overall, while Siena (2-6, 0-1) shot just 11-18 (61%) in the narrow defeat.
Aidan Carpenter and Colby Rogers tallied 12 points apiece to lead a balanced attack for the Saints, who suffered their second overtime loss in five days. Jared Billups added 11 points and six rebounds for Siena, which secured a season-high 11 steals and scored 20 points off 17 Jasper turnovers.
The Saints led for more than 33 minutes and went on a 13-2 run early in the second half, capped by eight straight points by Billups, to open as much as a 13-point cushion at 47-34 with 12:39 remaining. But Manhattan responded with the next 11 points to pull within three at the 9:11 mark, and it was game on down the stretch.
Carpenter put Siena up three on a driving layup with 28 seconds to go, but the Jaspers got three looks on the ensuing possession, and Nelson sank the tying three with 2.2 seconds left to send the game to overtime tied at 64. The extra session marked the Saints’ first-ever in a MAAC opener in now their 33rd season of league competition, and first overtime contest in a league opener overall in 39 years since starting the 1982-83 ECAC Metro season with an extra period.
Billups drained a clutch three to put Siena ahead 69-67 with 2:22 left in the extra session, but Nelson and Perez responded with the ensuing six points to put the Jaspers back in front for good at 73-69 with 33 seconds remaining. Nelson accounted for 10 of Manhattan’s 13 overtime points, as the Jaspers escaped Albany with just their third win in the last 20 meetings in the Capital Region.
Warren Williams added 16 points on 7-8 shooting and six rebounds off the bench for the MAAC’s top shooting team in Manhattan which connected at an even 50% clip on the evening. Siena embarks upon a season-long four-game road trip to close out the 2021 calendar year, and concludes the opening weekend of conference action, when the Saints travel to Saint Peter’s Sunday for a 2 p.m. tilt.
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