The Mount lost its home opener 65-53 to Siena on Saturday night at Knott Arena before a crowd that yearned to have a lot more to cheer for.
The bottomline was the loss came down to the fact that the Mount couldn't stop three guys for Siena. Freshman Evan Hymes dropped 30 points on the Mount, including matching the Mount's first half output of 16. Meanwhile, OD Anosike and Brandon Walters combined for 26 rebounds as the Saints held a 47-34 advantage on the boards. In addition, the pair were a big factor inside defending against the Mount's Danny Thompson and Raven Barber. Barber finished with 10 points, but the pair combined to shoot 7-of-18 from the field.
The Mount led 6-0 early on a pair of threes from Julian Norfleet. The sophomore guard would knock down 5 trifectas on the night and finish with 16 points, but he was 5-of-14 from behind the arc. However, after grabbing the early lead, the Mount went so very cold from the floor. That allowed Siena to absolutely seize control of the game no matter how much it looked like the didn't want to.
Despite scoring only three points over the next eight minutes, the Mount still trailed only 12-9 and it appeared if the open shots that weren't falling started to drop the period of ineptitude wouldn't have cost the Mount. But it got worse from there.
The Mount went nearly seven minutes without scoring and by the time Josh Castellanos rained in a three from the corner (15 points) the game was all but decided as Siena led 25-12.
The Mount played hard the entire second half and certainly never quit. The offense which shot 22% in the first half was a little better making 36% of its shots in the second half. But the closest the Mount could ever get was nine.
I can't fault the effort of the Mount, they played hard and with intensity. They did fix some of the turnover problem, although Siena sat in an effective zone most of the first half. Unfortunately it was just one of those nights where shots weren't falling. I've talked about the need for this team to have a true second option beyond Norfleet from the outside. Castellanos has taken on some of that. But his shots (1-of-4) weren't falling in the first half. He scored 11 in the second half.
And the Siena zone really seemed to baffle the Mount inside. Of course if some of the open jump shots would have fallen that zone might have softened up a bit.
It was hard to be encouraged by what you witnessed at the game on Saturday night. Yet it was difficult to really find fault with the Mount. For the most part it came down to the fact that they couldn't score in the first half, and most of that was missed open shots.
They played hard and hopefully that effort brings better results in future games.
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