Saints ring in the new year with fourth straight win

FAIRFIELD, CT (NEWS10) – New year, same result. Siena Basketball pushed its win streak to four with a 70-61 New Year’s Day victory over Fairfield at the Leo D. Mahoney Arena. The Saints shot 54% from the field against the conference’s top defense to complete their season-long three-game road trip win and improve to a perfect 3-0 in the MAAC.

Freshman reserve Michael Eley tied for the third time with 16 points and added a career-best seven rebounds for Siena (9-5, 3-0), which has tied its longest winning streak since winning a program record 16 straight bridging 2020-21. Jackson Stormo contributed 11 of his 15 points in the second half for the Saints, who won nine straight against Fairfield (6-8, 2-2).

TJ Long came off the bench to score 17 of his game-high 19 points off five threes in the second half for the Stags, who had entered four of their previous five as winners, coinciding with the opening of their new on- campus arena. Allan Jeanne-Rose scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half and Supreme Cook scored 10 points for Fairfield, who shot just 38% from the field.

Siena opened the new year much as they closed 2022 on Friday night: with a bang. The Saints scored 11 of the first 13 points of 2023, and also went 11-2 midway through the first half to open a whopping 18-point cushion at 27-9 at 7:54. The Stags, who had started the game ice-cold from the field, finished off the stanza by making eight of their last 10 shots to cut Siena’s lead to nine at 36-27 at half-time.

The Saints built the lead back to a whopping 16 at 50-34 on an Eley basket with 13:09 left. But Fairfield fought back to build an 18-8 run over the stretch culminating in three threes from Long to cut Siena’s lead all the way down to just two at 63-61 with 2:15 left.

However, the Saints dug deep into the Depression to ring in the New Year victorious. Siena scored the final seven points – highlighted by a 5-6 effort from the free throw line – and got key stops in the waning moments to freeze their first win of 2023. Jared Billups, who scored eight of his 10 points in the second half and added nine rebounds and three assists, secured a clutch theft of an inbound with the Saints five ahead with 32 seconds left before adding the exclamation mark with an escape dunk in the last seconds.

Siena put in the paint for their second powerful performance in a row with 46 points as they outscored the Stags with 14 in the key. The Saints also made the most of 12 Fairfield turnovers, making the miscues 20 points.

After successfully completing a grueling stretch that saw them go 7-4 while playing nine of their 11 away games, Siena will now return to the friendly confines of MVP Arena for five of their next seven games. The Saints open a weekend homestand on Friday when they host the defending MAAC Tournament Champion and Elite Eight participant Saint Peter’s at 7 p.m.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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