ALBANY, NY -- Tenth seeded Siena Basketball whittled a 24-point halftime deficit to as little as eight in the final 90 seconds before succumbing to No. 7 seed Quinnipiac 67-58 in the First Round of the MAAC Tournament at the Times Union Center. Sophomore guard Khalil Richard scored a team-high 12 points for the Saints which completed their 2017-18 season with a final record of 8-24.
Unanimous MAAC All-Rookie Team selection Rich Kelly scored a game-high 18 points and classmate Jacob Rigoni contributed 17 points and eight rebounds for Quinnipiac (11-20) which advances to face MAAC Co-Regular Season Champion and No. 2 seed Canisius in the quarterfinals Friday night. Second Team All-MAAC selection Cameron Young added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats which shot an even 50% from the field including 11-26 from three.
Freshman guard Jordan Horn joined Richard in double figures in tallying 10 points for Siena which fell for just the sixth time in its past 25 MAAC Tournament contests in Albany dating back to 2002. MAAC All-Rookie Team selection Prince Oduro added eight points and classmates Christian Bentley and Manny Camper chipped in with seven points apiece for the Saints which shot just 32.3% from the field including only 4-20 from distance.
Quinnipiac connected on its first eight shot attempts to race out to a 21-5 lead just five and a half minutes in. The Bobcats shot 54% from the field and made nine threes in the first half to claim their biggest lead of the night at 40-16 at the break.
Siena opened the second half on a 13-3 spurt to being chipping away at the deficit, but Quinnipiac built its lead back to as many as 21 at 61-40 with 9:42 to play. However, the Saints defense clamped down thereafter, and held the Bobcats without a field goal for the final 7:53 to spur a late run.
Siena reeled off a 15-2 rally highlighted by points from five different players, to pull back within as close as 63-55 on a Kevin Degnan basket with 1:29 remaining. But the Saints couldn't get any closer as Quinnipiac held on to claim the first-ever postseason meeting between the new MAAC foes.
The Bobcats held a 41-31 rebounding advantage, while Siena harbored a 20-4 advantage in points off turnovers. The Saints forced the Bobcats into 18 miscues, while they themselves committed a season-low six turnovers.