Siena gets wake-up call in exhibition loss

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LOUDONVILLE — Plain and simple, Siena College lost to a better men’s basketball team Saturday evening at Alumni Recreation Center.

At this point in the season — well, the preseason — Le Moyne, a Division II program stocked with veteran players, is more game-ready than the Saints, which showed in Siena’s 73-71 exhibition loss.

“They’re a really good team,” said freshman Jordan Horn, one of three freshmen Siena started Saturday against a Le Moyne team that started four seniors. “I don’t care that they’re a Division II team. They competed with us and they beat us.”

Siena had to do a lot of work to get the final score to a respectable one. After Le Moyne made four free throws from Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos receiving two technical fouls and an ejection, Siena trailed 69-54 with 6:01 to go.

The Saints furiously rallied from there with junior Nico Clareth leading the way. Siena put together a 14-0 run to pull within 69-68 with 1:17 to go, but Le Moyne managed to hang on for a two-point win against a Division I foe that played in its conference championship game in March.

“Losing to anybody is a concern,” Clareth said. “I don’t like losing. We don’t like losing. Anytime you lose, we’ll go back to the drawing board and do what we have to do to improve.”

Clareth scored 33 points and took 25 shots to get them close. No other Siena player scored more than sophomore Khalil Richard’s 13 points or took more shots than freshman Prince Oduro’s eight.

“I want Nico taking 25 shots a game. That’s all part of the game plan,” Patsos said. “But there’s a couple guys out there that have to learn that they have to figure out what their role is and I’d really like someone on this team to understand how important rebounding is because our rebounding just wasn’t there for the entire game.”

Siena played without 6-foot8 junior Evan Fisher — a likely starter — and struggled throughout the evening to protect its glass. Siena only grabbed 58.8 percent of available rebounds on its defensive glass, while Le Moyne collected 74.2 percent. Siena also struggled throughout the game with foul trouble, as five players collected at least four fouls.

“I think it’s a wake-up call, but I think we’ll do better next time,” Siena sophomore Ahsante Shivers said. “I know we’ll do better next time.”

Le Moyne, which redshirt senior Tyquan Rolon led with 18 points, went 22-7 last season. The Dolphins were a No. 1 seed in this past season’s NCAA Division II tournament.

That success is why Pat-sos wanted to play the team coached by Patrick Beilein, son of Michigan head coach John Beilein. Patsos wanted a challenge for his squad ahead of Friday’s season-opening game at Charleston, but didn’t like what he saw from his team during a game in which the Saints trailed 24-8 midway through the first half.

“They just outhustled us early,” Patsos said.

Siena got within 35-31 at halftime, but Le Moyne quickly stretched its lead in the second half. With his team down 65-54, Patsos got his first technical foul for arguing. His second came moments later, he said, because he stepped out of the coaching box after previously earning a warning for that.

Patsos said his intention was not to earn an ejection to motivate his team. “I don’t believe in motivating that way,” Patsos said.

But it seemed to do that for the young Saints, who had a few chances in the last couple minutes to go ahead.

“Jimmy, he cares about us. He’s fighting for us when he gets those techs,” Shivers said. “He really wants us to win, he cares about us. It hypes us up. We wanted to get better. We wanted to win for him.”

Shivers — one of Siena’s players to battle foul trouble — finished with seven points, as did Horn.

Siena’s freshmen largely struggled. The Saints’ leading trio of freshmen — Oduro, Horn and Roman Penn — combined to shoot 7 of 20 and scored 16 points. Patsos said he’s still confident those players will improve from Saturday’s experience.

“But you better be patient,” Patsos said. “You’ve got to be patient.”

Siena left its exhibition with more questions than answers. It has lineups to retool and needs time to develop — and plenty of time to get right before the time of year that matters most to the program.

“What’s the ultimate answer?” Patsos said. “I’ll tell you in March.”

LE MOYNE

Brown 1-3 0-0 2, Eisendorf 6-8 1-2 13, Sangster 1-4 2-2 5, Rolon 5-12 5-5 18, Richards 0-1 0-0 0, Gairey 2-10 2-4 7, Hyland 1-1 5-6 8, Chambers 1-3 2-2 5, Jones 1-2 0-0 3, Kaigler 5-11 2-5 12. Totals: 23-55 19-26 73.

SIENA

Oduro 4-8 1-1 9, Penn 0-3 0-0 0, Shivers 2-4 2-2 7, Horn 3-7 0-1 7, Clareth 11-25 7-7 33, Bentley 0-0 0-0 0, Smithen 1-2 0-1 2, Huerter 0-0 0-0 0, Richard 4-6 2-2 13, Degnan 0-1 0-0 0, Friday 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 25-57 12-14 71.

Halftime: Le Moyne 35, Siena 31. Three-point shooting: Le Moyne 8-18 (Eisendorf 0-1, Sangster 1-1, Rolon 3-6, Richards 0-1, Gairey 1-4, Hyland 1-1, Chambers 1-3, Jones 1-1), Siena 9-23 (Penn 0-1, Shivers 1-1, Horn 1-4, Clareth 4-12, Richard 3-4, Degnan 0-1). Rebounds: Le Moyne 37 (Kaigler 9), Siena 28 (Oduro, Clareth 5) Assists: Le Moyne 12 (Rolon 5), Siena 10 (Penn 3). Total fouls: Le Moyne 19, Siena 27. Fouled out: Sangster, Penn. Technicals: Patsos 2. Attendance: 1,378.

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