ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Jackson Stormo scored a season-high 24 points to power shorthanded Siena basketball to its sixth straight win with a 68-63 victory over Rider University at MVP Arena. Michael Baer capped a memorable weekend with 10 points and six rebounds off the bench for the surging Saints, who took over sole possession of first place in the MAAC at the quarter pole of the conference schedule.

Stormo, who is now averaging a team-high 17.1 points over his past eight games, shot 9-13 from the field for Siena (11-5, 5-0) which overcame being down a pair of starters in Jayce Johnson and two-time MAAC Player of the Week and leading scorer Javian McCollum (16.0).

Dwight Murray, Jr. returned from injury to score 16 of his 20 points in the second half – including his milestone 1,000th career point – for Rider (6-9, 3-3) which has lost three straight and four of five. Tariq Ingraham added 12 points on 5-6 shooting off the bench for the Broncs.

The first half was a true grinder with the teams combining to shoot just 18-56 (32%) including only 2-18 from three with 16 turnovers. The Saints both scored and allowed season-lows in first half points, and carried a 24-21 lead into the locker room.

Both offenses came alive in the second half – with each side virtually doubling their first half scoring total – but it was Siena’s offense which made the bigger impact. After shooting just 29% in the opening stanza, the Saints nearly doubled their shooting to a 56% second half clip while dishing out 10 assists.

After Rider briefly took the lead early, Siena responded with a 13-2 run to go back in front for good at 40-32 at the 12:11 mark. The Broncs never got any closer than two the rest of the way, and the Saints utilized an 8-2 spurt to take as big as a 10-point lead at 57-47 on a Baer three with 4:38 to go. Siena still led by as many as 10 following a pair of Andrew Platek free throws with 2:31 left before Rider made a final comeback bid.

The Broncs chipped the difference back down to as little as a one-possession game at three points with 14.7 seconds remaining, but freshman Zek Tekin, who made his first collegiate start in place of the injured McCollum, sank the clinching free throws. Both teams entered play ranked in the top-33 nationally in free throw percentage, but Siena shot 20-26 (77%) from the charity stripe while Rider was just 10-17 (59%) in a five-point decision.

The Saints head back out on the road next weekend for their only two road games during a seven-game stretch. Siena commences their annual Western New York trip Friday night at Niagara at 7 p.m.