Men’s College Basketball
Siena College 62, Rider University 47
ALBANY, NY— Siena College is of Catholic heritage and the Catholic Church teaches that it does not make or create saints, but rather, recognizes them.
The Siena Saints helped the Rider Broncs recognize that despite their 3-0 start in the conference, they are not playing good basketball right now.
Despite 21 points and five rebounds from senior Anthony Myles (Dover, DE/Poly-Tech) the Broncs lost a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at Siena Saturday night.
“We’re just playing awful,” said Rider head coach Kevin Baggett. “The last three games we haven’t played well and it finally caught up to us. I’m very down on my team right now. I don’t mind losing if we play the right way. We’re not playing the right way.”
The loss was just the second for Rider (7-6, 3-1 MAAC) in the last seven games.
Siena (6-9, 2-2 MAAC) out-scored Rider 10-2 to start the second half, five points by Brett Bisping, to take a 35-25 lead. Bisping finished with a career-high 20 points and seven rebounds.
The bad news is that the Bronc offense managed to score just one point in the first 9:44 of the game. The good news is that the Bronc defense managed to hold Siena to 25 first-half points, as the Saints led Rider 25-23 at the half.
Rider used a 14-4 run, six points by Myles, to take its first lead of the game, 18-17, with 3:54 left in the first half.
Siena led 11-1 midway through the first half. “Our offense has been very stagnate the last few games,” Myles said. “We just need to get back into the gym and work on it.”
Also for Rider, senior Daniel Stewart (Philadelphia, PA/Neumann-Goretti) was held to six points and five rebounds in 26 minutes of action before fouling out.
Rider entered the game ranked first in the nation in three-point field goal percentage at 43.5, while averaging 7.75 made per game.
“To hold the best-shooting three-point team in the nation to 28 percent is great,” said Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos.
Saturday Rider shot just 28 percent from three-point range, making five of 18, and was 14 of 27 from the foul line.
“We can’t make lay-ups, can’t make free throws, and are relying too much on the outside shots,” Baggett said.
Overall, Rider shot just 28 percent from the field, scoring just eight points in the paint. “We couldn’t make lay-ups tonight,” Baggett said, “and that cost us the game.”
Without a senior in the lineup, the Saints are the third youngest team in Division I and have now won four of their last six games.
Siena out-rebounded Rider 40-31. “Siena was more aggressive and tougher than we were,” Baggett said.
The Broncs will now make the annual trip to Western New York to take on Canisius January 10 and Niagara January 12. “We will figure it out,” Baggett said. “We’ll find guys who will play hard, find guys who will make lay-ups, and we’ll get it turned around.”
Perhaps a prayer to St. Jude of Thaddaeus, the patron saint of desperate situations.