Men’s basketball falls to Siena in a streaky game


Photo credit: David Auth

Logan Carney, Sports Manager

MOON TOWNSHIP — The Robert Morris University men’s basketball team (4-6) fell to the Siena College Saints (4-6) by the score of 74-71. The Colonials came into this game after losing three of their last four, including their last two to the Canisius Golden Griffins (2-6) and the Drexel Dragons (5-4) by scores of 68-62 and 82-69 respectively.

The game didn’t start out strong for Robert Morris as Siena was able to reach a double-digit lead just seven minutes into the game when they took an 18-7 lead with 13:07 in the first. This was their largest lead in the first half.

“Completely disappointing effort for us,” said Coach Andy Toole after the game. “Starting the game and the second half, just completely embarrassing for a team that has lost two games in a row. To come out at home with that kind of energy, it just shows a complete lack of respect for the game.”

Robert Morris would fight back though, as they tied things up at 23-23 with 8:11 left in the first, after a 16-5 run that ended on a Charles Bain three-pointer. Bain finished the game with nine points on 4-7 shooting, but seven of those nine points came in the first half.

The two teams traded shots up until the score was tied at 32-32 when Siena started to pull away. They closed the first half on a 6-0 run, capitalized by a four-point play from Jalen Pickett, that sent the two teams into halftime with the score 38-32 in favor of the Saints.

Coming out of the second half, Siena extended their 6-0 run into a 15-0 run and led the Colonials 47-32 just a little over a minute into the second half. They would end up extending their lead to 18 with 16:25 left to play after a Sloan Seymour three-pointer. Overall, Siena shot 11-25 from behind the arc in the game.

“The number one key in our scouting report was to defend the three,” said Coach Toole. “I don’t know any other way to explain to people how important it is to understand the scouting report and be able to execute and be detailed in the way they go about business. We can’t do it for long enough yet, so we got to keep working and trying to get better at that.”

For the next eight minutes though, the Colonials chipped away at the Siena lead and pulled within 10 at 65-56 with 8:02 remaining in the game. This happened when Malik Petteway was fouled while making a layup, setting himself up for an and-one opportunity that he capitalized on to make the score 65-56. This also kicked off a 16-0 run for the Colonials that gave them a 69-65 lead with 1:44 remaining in the game.

Siena tied the game up with 41 seconds remaining in the game at 71-71 after Pickett hit a layup and was fouled on the play. He did not make the foul shot and Matty McConnell grabbed the rebound. Josh Williams’s shot on the transition didn’t fall, gave the Saints the ball back as the shot clock died. Siena waited out the clock as Kevin Degnan, who finished the day with 19-points and was 5-7 from three-point range, hit the game-winning shot with only two seconds left on the clock.

The final score was 74-71 in favor of Siena. The Colonials fought back after being down by as many as 18 points early in the second half. Josh Williams (19) and Matty McConnell (16) were RMU’s leading scorers as Pickett (20), Degnan (19), Manny Camper (14) and Jimmy Ratliff (10) all finished in double-digits for Siena. Koby Thomas had a decent showing in the paint with nine rebounds, the game-high, but only scored five points in the contest.

“I think it’s sometimes easy when you’re down 18-points to decide that you’re going to play hard. I’m more interested in the character in the guys that when it’s 0-0, they’re going to come out and play hard,” said Coach Toole. “True character is guys who show up ready, willing and able when the game starts, not when you’re down 18-points.”

The Colonials next game will be on the road next Saturday against the Rider University Broncs (2-3). Rider fell today to the Hofstra Pride (7-3) by the score of 80-73. Robert Morris’s next home game will be on Dece. 29 against Hood.

When asked what Robert Morris will do to stop the current losing streak, Coach Andy Toole simply responded, “Work hard, got to work a lot harder.”