Saints Shake Slow Start, Manhattan to Move Atop MAAC


Loudonville, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Siena Basketball overcame a 10-point first half deficit to finish off a weekend sweep of Manhattan with a 64-56 victory at the UHY Center. Senior captain Manny Camper poured in a career-high 25 points for the Saints who took over sole possession of first place in the MAAC Standings heading into the final week of the season.

Camper added nine rebounds and four assists while drawing a whopping 11 fouls for Siena (11-3, 11-3) which improved to a perfect 7-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. Camper, who entered play a 57% free throw shooter on the season, shot a clutch 12-14 from the charity stripe for the Saints who won for the 19th time in the past 20 games on their home court.

Elijah Buchanan scored 18 points and Samir Stewart added 13 for slumping Manhattan (6-11, 5-11) which has dropped seven of eight to sink into the MAAC basement. Siena held the Jaspers leading scorer and Seton Hall transfer Ant Nelson, who tied a career-high with 27 points in the series-opener Friday night, to just six points on 2-10 shooting and five turnovers.

With just seven available scholarship players for the second day of a back-to-back against a pesky Manhattan squad, the Saints had to shake free from a slow start. Siena shot just 30% in the first half as Manhattan built as much as a 10-point lead late in the first half and took a 27-21 advantage at the break.

But the resilient Saints came out on fire to start the second half, connecting on each of their first six field goal attempts to claim their first lead. Siena later rattled off eight unanswered to take the lead for good at 47-42 with 7:56 remaining.

The Saints shot 57% overall in the second half to secure their 17th win in their last 19 matchups vs. the Jaspers in the Capital Region. Siena salted the game away by converting 15 of their 17 second half free throw attempts. The Saints, who entered play last in the MAAC shooting 65% from the foul line this season, finished 18-22 (82%) overall from the charity stripe on the evening.

Siena more than doubled its first half scoring total, thanks in large part to Jackson Stormo who scored 16 of his career-high 18 points in the second half. The shorthanded Saints also received a boost from an unlikely source in walk-on captain Robert Mahala, who was called into duty for a career-high 20 minutes and grabbed four rebounds while making some key hustle plays to help sway momentum in Siena’s favor.

The Saints are scheduled to conclude regular season action Thursday and Friday vs. Canisius at the UHY Center. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. both days. 

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