Siena lets one slip away in regular season finale

Sports

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Majesty Brandon hit the game-winning jumper with 11.3 seconds left as Canisius overcame a 15-point deficit to edge Siena Basketball 76-75 in the regular season finale at the UHY Center. Jalen Pickett posted season-highs of 23 points and eight assists on 9-14 shooting for the Saints.

Siena (12-4, 12-4) shares the 2020-21 MAAC Regular Season Championship with Monmouth, who won Friday night to pull even with the Saints for most league wins. With last night’s win, Siena claimed the No. 1 seed in next week’s 2021 Hercules Tires MAAC Basketball Championships at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and will open in quarterfinal action Wednesday at 5 p.m. on ESPN+. The Saints will face the winner of the MAAC First Round matchup between eighth seeded Quinnipiac and No. 9 Iona which is set for Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Brandon came off the bench to score all 16 of his points in the second half for Canisius (7-5, 7-5), who will be the No. 6 seed and open vs. No. 11 Rider Monday at 7 p.m. Ahamadou Fofana also scored 16 points for the Golden Griffins who have won 13 of the past 18 meetings vs. Siena.

Reigning MAAC Player of the Week Manny Camper tallied 18 points and eight rebounds for the Saints who suffered their first loss this season in the back-end of back-to-backs (7-1). Freshman Colin Golson, Jr. added 13 points on 6-7 shooting for Siena who fell despite shooting 53% from the field, albeit just 4-16 from three.

Brandon’s off-balance right wing jumper capped a game-ending 21-8 run by Canisius over the final 12:58. The Golden Griffins forced the Saints to miss 14 of their final 18 shots, while holding Siena scoreless for the last 3:42. Jackson Stormo had the final look for the Saints, but his off-balance, highly-contested 30-foot fade away three following the inbounds from in front of the bench with 2.8 seconds to go fell short.

Siena had started out red-hot in achieving the squad’s top offensive first half output this season. The Saints set a season-high for first half scoring, while shooting 61% from the field to take a 46-37 lead at the break. Siena amassed 34 points in the paint in the opening stanza, and scored 16 of their points off 10 Canisius turnovers.

The Saints continued their offensive prowess into the second half and still maintained a double-digit lead at 67-55 with 13:10 to go. But Siena went cold thereafter as the Golden Griffins countered by shooting 56% in the second half to win for just the 10th time on the road in 47 games since the Saints joined the Division I ranks.

Malek Green scored 12 points and Armon Harried chipped in 11 for Canisius who shot 13-14 from the free throw line as opposed to 5-8 for Siena in a one-point decision.

Jordan King scored nine points and Stormo finished with eight for the Saints who scored a season-high 52 points in the paint, nearly doubling their season average of 29.9 entering play. 

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