POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Ryan Funk opened the second half on a personal 12-0 run to propel Marist past Siena Basketball 63-58 in the MAAC opener for both teams at McCann Arena. Sophomore guard Ahsante Shivers recorded his first collegiate double-double in leading the Saints with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Funk scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half for Marist (3-10, 1-0) which earned just its fifth win in the past 23 meetings between the I-87 rivals. Brian Parker led all scorers with 18 points, and David Knudsen added 13 points and five steals for the Red Foxes which improved to 14-7 all-time in MAAC openers including a perfect 4-0 vs. Siena (4-10, 0-1) in Poughkeepsie.
Freshman guard Roman Penn scored 11 points and added four assists for the Saints who have dropped six of their last seven MAAC road openers. Classmate Prince Oduro tallied seven points and eight rebounds for Siena which shot just 32.4% from the field including only 4-23 (17.4%) from three-point range.
Following a 31-all tie at the break, Funk and Marist took immediate control to open the second half. Funk drained a trio of threes and scored 12 points in igniting a16-2 Red Foxes’ run to begin the final stanza as Marist, which led for nearly 38 minutes, built a 14-point advantage with 14:14 to go.
But the Saints would slowly claw their way back in what would eventually become the eighth straight single digit decision between the MAAC rivals in Poughkeepsie. Shivers capped an 11-2 Siena response with back-to-back baskets to pull the Saints within 49-44 with 9:07 to play.
The Red Foxes maintained between a four and eight-point lead into the final minute, when Penn drained a pair of clutch free throws to bring Siena back within a single possession at 60-58 with 44.7 seconds to go. The Saints had several good looks down the stretch, but couldn’t connect as Marist held on.
Red-shirt junior guard Kadeem Smithen contributed five points and a career-high 10 rebounds off the bench for the MAAC’s top rebound margin team in Siena which held a 45-36 advantage on the glass. The Saints pulled down 15 offensive rebounds, fueling a 17-2 margin in second chance points. Siena attempted 68 shots to Marist’s 40, although the Red Foxes shot 25-40 from the three throw line. The Saints were just 10-17.
Siena opens 2018 – and a season long three-game homestand – when the Saints host Quinnipiac for a New Year’s Day matinee Monday at 1 p.m. at the Times Union Center.