RIVERDALE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Reigning MAAC Player of the Week Jose Perez scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half as Manhattan held off Siena Basketball 75-68 at Draddy Gymnasium. Anthony Gaines tallied 13 of his team-high 18 points following halftime, and added seven rebounds and a season-high tying six assists for the Saints which saw both their four-game overall and road win streaks snapped.

Ant Nelson notched 11 of his 13 points off the bench in the second half for Manhattan (10-5, 3-3) which swept the regular season series from Siena (6-7, 3-2) for the first time in four years. Josh Roberts added 12 points on 6-7 shooting for the MAAC’s top-shooting team, which connected at a 49% clip including 62% in the final stanza.

Nick Hopkins contributed 14 points and four steals for Siena which suffered its first defeat in 49 days, dating back to a 77-72 overtime setback against the Jaspers on Dec. 3 in Albany. Colby Rogers added nine of his 11 points in the second half for the Saints who have dropped nine of their last 11 in Riverdale.

In a game that featured 10 ties and 13 lead changes, Siena led for only 5:48 albeit never trailed by double figures. Manhattan opened with a 16-9 start, but the Saints later rattled off eight straight points capped by one of Hopkins’ four threes to forge ahead 20-19 at the 5:27 mark. The Jaspers led a one-possession game 31-29 at the break.

Both sides jockeyed for position in a more offensive-minded second half, with Siena securing its final lead at 42-41 on a Jordan Kellier layup at the 14:23 mark. But Nelson responded with the next two baskets for Manhattan, and Perez scored the Jaspers’ following 15 points over just 5:09 to carve out a lead they would not relinquish.

Manhattan led by as many as nine, 71-62 with 2:35 remaining, before the Saints broke out the 1-3-1 to similar success seen in the 17-point second half comeback at Marist last Friday. The defensive switch helped force a pair of key turnovers resulting in six straight points to pull Siena back within one possession at 71-68 on a Rogers three with 72 seconds remaining. The Saints then forced a third turnover and had a look at a tying three in the final minute, but couldn’t convert as the Jaspers held on.  

Perez added six rebounds and six assists to his stat line for Manhattan which held a 38-28 rebounding margin and a 40-24 advantage in points in the paint, to emerge victorious in their final of four games during a seven-day stretch since returning from pause.

After playing just three times in the past 41 days due to final exams, the holiday break, and a COVID pause, the Saints will now prepare for a flurry of activity beginning with three games next week. A grueling six-game, 12-day stretch tips off Tuesday with a showdown between the last two MAAC Tournament Champions, when Siena travels to archrival Iona for a 7 p.m. tilt. 

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