JERSEY CITY, N.J. (NEWS10) — Jaylen Murray hit the game-tying three with two-tenths of a second remaining in the second half and Siena Basketball went the final eight minutes of regulation and overtime without a field goal in a frustrating 73-72 defeat against Saint Peter’s in the regular season finale at Run Baby Run Arena.
Despite having lost five straight to close out the regular season for the first time since dropping the final five games of the 2017-18 season, Siena (17-14, 11-9) received help Saturday to secure a First Round bye in next week’s MAAC Championships. The Saints will be the No. 4 seed and open vs. fifth-seeded Niagara in the MAAC Quarterfinals Thursday at 9:30 p.m. at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Javian McCollum capped a 52-point statement weekend with a game-high 22 points for Siena which has dropped seven of nine since a 9-2 first-place MAAC start. Five of the seven losses have been by just a single possession, with a sixth coming in overtime.
Jayden Saddler scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half for defending MAAC Tournament Champion and Elite Eight Cinderella Saint Peter’s (12-17, 7-13) who will be the No. 10 seed in the MAAC Tournament. The Peacocks will face seventh-seeded Fairfield in First Round action Tuesday at 7 p.m.
In the milestone 100th all-time meeting between Siena and Saint Peter’s, the Peacocks put on a first-half offensive showcase on their Senior Day. Saint Peter’s led by as many as 11 in an opening stanza in which they shot 62% from the field including 4-5 from three, and took a 40-36 lead at the break. The Peacocks had entered play ranked third worst nationally in field goal percentage (.388) and eighth worst in three-point field goal percentage (.290).
But Saint Peter’s eventually cooled off and Siena capitalized, bridging the halves with a 17-2 run spanning 6:54 to claim a 44-40 lead with 18:20 remaining. The Saints never trailed for the remainder of regulation and took as much as a seven-point lead at 67-60 with 3:04 to go.
However, the Peacocks scored the final seven points to send the game to overtime. Saint Peter’s, which grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, had a pair on their final possession leading to the game-tying three. Saint Peter’s entered the day ranked seventh nationally in offensive rebounding (13.5).
Jackson Stormo gave Siena its final lead on a pair of free throws with 1:08 remaining in the extra session, but Isiah Dasher converted the game-winning free throws for the Peacocks with 27 seconds left. The Saints misfired on all seven of their field goal attempts in overtime to fall for the 11th time in their last 12 trips to Jersey City. Siena has now dropped all three of its overtime contests this season, and nine of 11 dating back to the 2017-18 season.
The Saints lost for just the fifth time in 36 games under head coach Carmen Maciariello when placing four or more players in double figures. Jared Billups tallied 13 points and eight rebounds, Stormo added 12 and 7, and freshman Michael Eley chipped in 11 points in his first collegiate start.
Murray scored 12 points and both Dasher and Latrell Reid added 10 points and six rebounds apiece for Saint Peter’s which won despite shooting just 31% from the field (12-39) and only 2-13 from three following halftime.
Despite the loss, Siena finished tied for third in the MAAC Standings with Quinnipiac to secure the program’s fifth straight top-three finish. The Bobcats won the tiebreaker for the three-seed by virtue of their regular season sweep of second-seeded Rider.
The Saints will now seek to regroup for the start of a new season next week. Siena split the regular season series with Niagara, with each team winning on the other’s home court. The Saints won 70-64 on Jan. 13 on Monteagle Ridge, with the Purple Eagles prevailing 56-54 on Feb. 5 in Albany.