ALBANY, NY – Zane Waterman scored the go-ahead basket with 2:38 remaining as Manhattan held off shorthanded Siena Basketball 51-47 in front of a crowd of 7,372 at the Times Union Center. Red-shirt junior guard Kadeem Smithen scored a career-high 18 points for the Saints which saw their three-game home winning streak snapped.
Pauly Paulicap recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three blocks for Manhattan (11-13, 6-6), which defeated Siena (7-17, 3-8) for just the second time in the past 15 meetings between the programs at the Times Union Center. Rich Williams added a double-double of his own with 10 points – albeit on just 3-17 shooting – and 11 rebounds for the Jaspers, which held a 42-30 advantage on the glass including 19 offensive rebounds.
Junior forward Evan Fisher scored all 10 of his points in the first half for the Saints, who were without the services of their active leader in scoring, assists, offensive rebounding, and steals in freshman floor general Roman Penn, and received limited contributions from banged up key performers Jordan Horn and Khalil Richard. Freshman forward Prince Oduro contributed a season-best 12 rebounds to go along with six points for Siena, which played in its 11th game decided by five points or less.
The Saints led for the first 28 minutes and by as many as nine points several times in each half. Siena shot 47% in the opening stanza and shot 12-14 from the free throw line to take a 32-23 lead at the break.
The Saints matched their largest advantage of nine for the final time at 37-28 following a three-point play by sophomore forward Thomas Huerter, Jr. with 15:31 remaining, but Manhattan responded with a 12-2 run to claim their first lead at 40-39 on a Paulicap layup with 11:15 to go.
Siena reclaimed its final lead at 45-42 on a Smithen three with 8:27 to go, but the Jaspers ended the game on a 9-2 run to complete the sweep of the regular season series despite shooting just 29.3% from the field including only 2-14 from three. Meanwhile the Saints missed 10 of their final 11 field goal attempts down the stretch, and shot just 23.1% (6-26) overall in the second half.
Nonetheless, Siena still had a chance in the waning seconds. However, Paulicap rejected sophomore guard Ahsante Shivers’ driving attempt at the potential game-tying layup with 2.1 seconds left, and Siena turned it over on the ensuing inbounds pass leading to a pair of Manhattan free throws to ice it.
The Saints return to action Monday when they travel to Connecticut for a 7 p.m. tilt at Fairfield.