Manhattan fans were hopeful as the Jaspers pulled out to an early 18-10 lead, but they knew it was too good to be true.
After jumping out to an early eight-point lead while shooting 8-for-12 from the field, the Jaspers cooled off, and fell down at the half 39-31. As Manhattan announcer Ed Cohen commented on near the end of the game, "The Jaspers were so promising early on, but the question was if they could sustain their effort."
The answer to that question is that they could not.
The Jaspers (7-11, 2-6 MAAC) held a 27-24 lead at the eight-minute TV timeout. Ryan Rossiter inbounded the ball to Clarence Jackson, who knocked down a three, knotting the score at 27. After the offensive foul on Andrew Gabriel of Manhattan, Clarence Jackson assisted a Kyle Downey three-pointer. On the ensuing possession, Jackson knocked another three-pointer. The Saints (15-4, 8-0 MAAC) led 33-27, and they would never trail again.
With 39 seconds left in the first half, Brandon Adams committed a flagrant foul on Ryan Rossiter when he pushed him from behind. The Jaspers got lucky, as Rossiter only converted one of two free throws and Ronald Moore's following three-point attempt rattled out.
The Jaspers remained close at the start of the second half, keeping the lead within eight during the first couple of minutes. Siena began hitting almost all of their shots, while the Jaspers struggled.
With 9:12 remaining, Darryl Crawford committed a flagrant foul on Clarence Jackson. Jackson hit both free throws, and then made a jump shot while getting fouled by Laurence Jolicoeur. Jackson converted the free throws, giving him five points on that single possession.
That put the Jaspers down 18 points. Manhattan would go down as many as 23 points, with the score 81-58 at the four-minute TV timeout.
Manhattan would get a little hot in the final minutes, cutting the lead down to 15. Rico Pickett missed a three as the final seconds ran off the clock, and the Saints won 83-68. This was the Saints 31st consecutive win on their home court, the Times Union Center.
The Saints outscored the Jaspers 24-14 in the paint during the second half. The Saints' second half shooting was brilliant. They made 18 of 30 shots, converting 60 percent.
The Saints had four players score in double digits.
Alex Franklin led Siena with 23 points. Not only did Franklin dominate in the post, but he was also able to drive to the basket from the wings and the top of the keys.
Ryan Rossiter recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 19 points and 14 rebounds. He has gotten a double-double in each of his last four games.
Kyle Downey scored a career-high 16 points off the bench. Clarence Jackson scored 15 points. Jackson made two of five three-pointers, after making six from beyond the arc against Fairfield. Both of his three-pointers against Manhattan helped the Saints jump out to a lead in the first half.
Ronald Moore had a solid all-around performance with eight points, eight assists, four rebounds, and two steals. Freshman forward O.D. Anosike scored two points and grabbed six rebounds.
The Saints won the rebounding battle 34-29.
Rico Pickett scored a game-high 26 points for the Jaspers on 10-for-19 shooting. Pickett made five three-pointers on nine attempts. Pickett is now averaging 17.8 points per game this year and 23.5 points in January. Pickett also grabbed six rebounds and swiped two steals.
Antoine Pearson scored six points off the bench and picked up three assists. Patrick Bouli scored hit one three-pointer early in the game, but was held scoreless for the final 35 minutes. Bouli added four rebounds and four assists.
Darryl Crawford scored only nine points on poor 3-for-9 shooting. All of his points came in the second half. Crawford added four rebounds and four assists.
Andrew Gabriel showed his ineffectiveness once again. Gabriel did not score, committed four fouls, picked up four turnovers, only had one rebounds, and missed all three of his shots. Rohrssen learned not to play Djibril Coulibaly, and now he has to learn that Gabriel does not add to the offense.
Kevin Laue scored his second career field goal as he tipped in a missed free throw by Antoine Pearson with 1:13 left in the second half. Laue has now scored five points in his young career.
The Jaspers only shot nine free throws in Monday's contest. In addition to their struggles in getting to the charity stripe, Manhattan was only able to convert five of their free throws. The Saints made 17-of-23 (73.9 percent).
The Saints have now won nine straight games, while the Jaspers have lost three straight.
Siena plays their next game on Thursday, January 21 against the Loyola (MD) Greyhounds (9-9, 2-6 MAAC).
Manhattan returns home to play Iona (13-6, 5-3 MAAC) on Friday, January 22.