August 18, 2022

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ALBANY – Anthony Gaines scored 21 points, Colby Rogers added 15 points and Jackson Stormo...

ALBANY – Anthony Gaines scored 21 points, Colby Rogers added 15 points and Jackson Stormo had 14 points as the Siena men’s basketball team knocked off defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Iona 70-64 before a season-high crowd of 6,386 on Friday night at MVP Arena.
Siena won for the fifth time in six games to improve to 11-9 overall, 8-4 in the MAAC. Iona (19-5, 11-2) lost its second straight game.

Freshman guard Javian McCollum made two foul shots with 20.5 seconds left to help ice the game, with a 68-64 lead. Students stormed the court when the game ended.
Siena reserve forward Michael Baer stole a pass, which led to Colby Rogers’ 3-pointer from the right corner and the Saints had their biggest lead to that point at 55-49. Iona coach Rick Pitino called a timeout with 4:16 left.

Iona shot 35.9 percent from the field.
“Siena played an excellent game and deserved the victory,” Pitino said. “They played outstanding defense … Their execution was terrific. They played a great game. We didn’t play great because they made us not play great. They deserve the credit. It’s a good victory for them and by the time we get to the (MAAC) Tournament, in a one-bid league, it’s anybody’s game … Anybody could win it on any given night.”
Down by 10 points, Siena went on a 13-3 run to tie the score. Nick Hopkins made a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to knot the game at 45-45 with 8:37 remaining.

MVP Arena, full of gold-clad fans, was rocking when Jackson Stormo threw down a two-handed dunk on a pass from Colby Rogers for a 49-47 lead with 7:14 on the clock.
The Gaels created some daylight with a 7-0 run early in the first half. Iona’s Tyson Jolly scored on a four-point play, making a shot from the top of the arc while Jared Billups hit him on the left arm and made the foul shot.
Then Iona’s Berrick JeanLouis drove on Colby Rogers for a 3-point play and a 40-30 lead with 14:06 left.
It was about the point where Iona pulled away from Siena in their earlier meeting in New Rochelle. This time, Anthony Gaines responded with a jumper to keep the Saints within reach.
Gaines drove impressively into the lane and powered the ball over Iona’s Nelly Joseph and JeanLouis for a 3-point play that cut Iona’s lead to 31-29 with 17:21 left.

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The teams were tied 24 at halftime.

Siena played outstanding defense in the opening 20 minutes against a Gaels team that entered the night leading the MAAC in scoring average.
Iona shot just 30.3 percent (10 of 33) in the first half, including 3 of 13 from 3-point range. The Gaels missed some decent shots early, but then the Saints made it extremely difficult for them with man-to-man pressure.

Siena went on a 12-3 run to take a 24-21 lead. Colby Rogers made a 3-pointer from the right side and then drove to make a shot over Iona big man Nelly Junior Joseph for the three-point lead.
The Saints could have had a halftime lead, but missed 2 of 8 foul shots, including a pair by Anthony Gaines with 1:41 left in the half.
However, Gaines also made the highlight play of the opening half. He leaped for a left-handed alley-oop tip-in of a Rogers pass to tie the score at 18. Gaines had seven points and six rebounds in the first half after going scoreless in Siena’s loss in New Rochelle in January.
Siena had early problems with Iona’s fullcourt pressure and committed seven turnovers in the first half, though the Saints settled down as the half went on.
Iona’s Elijah Joiner drove for a lefty 3-point play with 1:11 left as the shot clock expired to create the halftime tie.
Pitino surprised by taking Joseph, last season’s MAAC Rookie of the Year, out of the starting lineup for the first time this season. Junior Osborn Shema got his first career start, but Joseph entered the game for him just 1:38 into the action. Joseph started the second half.

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