JERSEY CITY, N.J. (NEWS10) – Siena Basketball led by as many as 24 points in the second half – and survived 21 unanswered Saint Peter’s points down the stretch – to escape with a 60-58 win over the Peacocks at Run Baby Run Arena. Aidan Carpenter poured in a season-high 15 points on 7-10 shooting off the bench for the Saints who secured their first win in Jersey City in 11 years.
Colby Rogers contributed 14 points for Siena (3-6, 1-1) which left Jersey City with its first victory since a 66-58 triumph on Jan. 28, 2010. Jordan Kellier added his first collegiate double-double in his first start with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Saints, who secured an important split of their MAAC opening weekend. Kellier was one of three players to make their first collegiate starts along with freshmen Jared Billups and Javian McCollum for shorthanded Siena, who prevailed despite being without their second and third-leading scorers in Jackson Stormo (illness) and Andrew Platek (injury).
Daryl Banks III scored all 14 of his points in the second half to lead Saint Peter’s (2-4, 1-1), who was predicted to finish second according to the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Reserve Jaylen Murray added 11 points for the Peacocks which received 34 points from their bench.
Siena led throughout and secured its largest lead of the afternoon at 55-31 with 10:34 remaining. The Saints pushed their advantage back to as many as a seemingly comfortable 23 points at 57-34 with just 7:37 to go on what would prove to be their final field goal before Saint Peter’s embarked upon their furious rally.
The Peacocks rattled off 21 straight points spanning 7:08 to pull back within as close as just two on a pair of Murray free throws with 12.8 seconds left. Saint Peter’s turned up the pressure down the stretch, holding Siena scoreless for 7:26 while turning the Saints over 10 times during their run. Siena only attempted four shots during that time, while also missing the front ends on a pair of one-and-ones.
But Rogers and the Saints finally broke through with a pair of clutch free throws, and Anthony Gaines added one more after a Murray layup, to make it 60-57 with six-tenths of a second to go. However, Gaines missed the second, and Saint Peter’s grabbed the rebound and was fouled to give them one last chance. MAAC Preseason Player of the Year KC Ndefo made the first free throw before intentionally missing the second, but Siena knocked away the loose ball rebound and exhaled.
The Saints had been in full control for the first 33 minutes, opening the game on a 16-2 run and cruising to a 36-25 lead at the break. Siena turned 10 Peacock turnovers into 13 points in the first half, and held Saint Peter’s starters to just a combined two points in the opening stanza.
Following a split of their MAAC opening weekend, Siena returns to non-conference play for its next two games. The Saints are back in action Saturday when they travel to Patriot League foe Holy Cross for a 2 p.m. contest.