Manhattan had so many chances to end Siena's perfect season on Sunday, but could not convert, letting down Jasper fans once again in a 66-58 loss.
If there was a chance for a team in the MAAC to beat Siena, this might have been it. Edwin Ubiles was not playing due to an injury, and the Saints have had trouble at Draddy Gymnasium in the past. In 2008, the Saints lost 73-72, and in 2009, the Saints only won 68-64 in a hard fought game.
Manhattan (7-13, 2-8 MAAC), had no response for Alex Franklin. At 6'5", Franklin has the ability to rebound, play in the post, and take his man off the dribble. Franklin scored the first two field goals for Siena (17-4, 10-0 MAAC) , dunking over Manhattan's Andrew Gabriel and then slamming back a missed layup by Ronald Moore.
Manhattan stayed close with the Saints, trailing 16-15 at the 12 minute TV timeout. With 7:34 left, Antoine Pearson was hacked on a layup, but no foul was called. Pearson yelled out to the refs, who had been frustrating both teams early on, and was called for a technical foul.
Siena had a chance to blow the game open if they could hit their free throws and knock down a shot on the next possession. Ryan Rossiter only hit one of the technical free throws, and Owen Wignot turned the ball over 17 seconds later.
Siena would go up 31-20 with just over four minutes left, and it looked like the game would be over. Manhattan scored on the next possession, and played good defense, leading to a 6-0 run. A buzzer beater jump shot by Siena's Jonathan Breeden gave the Saints a 35-28 halftime lead.
The Jaspers drew eight fouls in the first half, after only drawing five in the first half on Monday. Manhattan made 7-of-8 free throws in the first half, with Darryl Crawford making 6-of-7.
Rico Pickett lead all scorers with 14 points at the half. Pickett made one three-pointer, and also made a clown shot on a fastbreak, as his layup dropped through as he went tumbling to the floor.
Siena came out strong in the second half, taking a double digit lead with 10:03 left on a Ronald Moore jumper. Alex Franklin continued to play great against the weak Jasper big men, scoring 17 points in the second half.
Siena took their a 61-49 lead, their largest of the game, with 5:27 left on a layup by Ryan Rossiter.
Antoine Pearson then came up the floor and hit a three-pointer for the Jaspers. After Alex Franklin split a pair of free throws, Patrick Bouli hit another three-pointer for the Jaspers and the comeback was on the way.
With 1:24 left in the game, Patrick Bouli stole the ball from Ryan Rossiter. Bouli threw the ball ahead to Darryl Crawford who lead the 4-on-1 break. Instead of passing the ball up, Crawford took the drive himself and drew a foul on Ryan Rossiter. With the Jaspers down five, Crawford had a chance to make it a one possession game.
Crawford's first free throw hit the back rim and bounced out. Crawford hit his second free throw, cutting the lead to 62-58.
On the ensuing Siena possession, the Saints ran the clock down and Ryan Rossiter missed a jump shot as the shot clock wound down. Rico Pickett grabbed the rebound and ran the Jaspers up the floor.
Rico Pickett smartly pulled out of a 3-on-2 break, and handed the ball the Patrick Bouli. Instead of running a quick play and scoring in the final minute, the Jaspers ran their slow, boring offense. With 35 seconds left, Antoine Pearson drove to the basket and passed up a chance at a layup where he would have at least gotten fouled, and gave the ball to Darryl Crawford on the wing. Crawford missed a one-handed runner.
Kyle Griffin grabbed the rebound for Siena. Manhattan looked as if they forgot that they had to foul. Nine seconds came off the clock before Patrick Bouli finally fouled Alex Franklin. Franklin, who had been 5-of-9 from the charity stripe entering this trip, hit both free throws.
Manhattan ran back up the floor and Antoine Pearson missed a jumper. Ryan Rossiter grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Rossiter hit both free throws and Siena won 66-58.
Siena outrebounded Manhattan 39-36. The Saints made 21-of-50 field goals (42.0 percent). The Saints shot 4-of-14 from beyond the arc. Kyle Griffin made all four of the three-pointers.
Alex Franklin scored 27 points, 17 of them in the second half, and grabbed 10 rebounds in 38 minutes. Franklin made two big free throws at the end of the game. Franklin also had two blocks.
Ryan Rossiter scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Rossiter made 10-of-12 free throws. As a team, Siena made 20-of-29 from the line. Rossiter made three steals on the defensive end, but committed five turnovers of his own. Rossiter played all 40 minutes in Sunday's game.
Kyle Griffin scored 12 points on four three-pointers. All of Griffin's three-pointers were in the first half.
Ronald Moore scored four points and dished out five assists.
Clarence Jackson only scored two points on 1-of-9 shooting. Jackson missed all five of his three-pointer attempts.
Manhattan shot 21-of-57 from the field (36.8 percent). The Jaspers converted 12-of-16 free throws, and made 4-of-15 shots from three-point range.
Rico Pickett lead the Jaspers with 20 points. Pickett is now averaging 17.2 points per game on the year, and 22.9 points per game in January, where the Jaspers are 1-7. Pickett shot 9-of-18 from the field.
Darryl Crawford and Brandon Adams each scored nine points and grabbed five boards. Crawford shot 1-of-7 from the field and made 7-of-9 free throws. Crawford also dished four assists. Brandon Adams had three blocks, but shot a poor 4-of-10 from the field. As usual, Adams forced all of his shots.
Djibril Coulibaly scored a career-high eight points and grabbed a career-high seven rebounds.
Antoine Pearson scored six points on two three-pointers. Pearson picked up a dumb technical foul in the first half.
Andrew Gabriel continues to add nothing to the offense. Despite not traveling, Gabriel still had four turnovers on three dumb, cross-court passes, and one play where he could not grab the ball. Gabriel scored three points on free throws.
Mohamed Koita, the new addition to the Manhattan Jaspers, did not play at all on Sunday. It was simply confusing that he did not get into the action.
Siena plays their next game at St. Peter's (12-8, 7-3 MAAC) on Thursday, January 28.
The Jaspers look to end their five game losing streak at Rider (11-11, 4-6 MAAC) on January 28.
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