ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Siena College men’s basketball team cut a 15-point first half deficit – which was still as many as 11 with 3:51 left – to just one in the waning seconds, but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 66-63 setback to Quinnipiac at MVP Arena Friday night.
Matt Balanc and Dezi Jones scored 12 points apiece to pace a balanced Quinnipiac (18-9, 9-7) attack which yielded four players with between 10-12 points. Luis Kortright and Paul Otieno each chipped in 10 points for the Bobcats which snapped a three-game losing streak. Jackson Stormo came off the bench for the first time this season and led all scorers with 16 points while adding eight rebounds for Siena (17-10, 11-5). Andrew Platek added 11 points for the Saints which shot just 38% from the field including only 7-23 (30%) from three).
Quinnipiac jumped out to a 14-5 lead and extended their advantage to as many as 15 at 33-18 with 2:41 remaining in the first half. The Bobcats led 36-22 at the break. Siena opened the second half with eight straight points to get back in business. Platek later capped a seven-point spurt with a three to rally the Saints back within a possession at 48-45 with 8:35 to go.
However, Siena would go scoreless for the next five minutes down the stretch as Quinnipiac responded with eight unanswered to push the lead back to double digits at 56-45 with 3:51 remaining. The Saints fed off their defense to make one final push. Siena, which forced a season-high 19 turnovers, scored 23 points off Bobcats miscues – 19 of which came in the second half – to chip away. A 9-2 run capped by a pair of Stormo free throws pulled the Saints within four at 58-54 with 80 seconds left, and two more fouls shot by Javian McCollum whittled the deficit to just a single point at 62-61 with 8.7 seconds to go.
But Quinnipiac connected on 8-9 free throws over the final half minute as Siena ran out of time and came up short in their bid to sweep the regular season series from the Bobcats for a third straight season. The Saints continue a challenging stretch to conclude February next weekend with road games at the two teams directly ahead of them in the MAAC Standings. Siena heads to second-place Rider for another nationally televised matchup on ESPNU Friday night at 7 p.m. in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.