Siena men’s basketball coach wants to play with more determination


LOUDONVILLE – In the 77-70 victory over College of Saint Rose on Monday, Siena men’s basketball coach Carmen Maciariello watched his team play at the faster pace they want this season. Maybe a little too fast.

The Saints were just too reckless for his liking with 13 turnovers of 45 possessions in the first half, including eight turnovers in transition. They scored 20 of their 39 points in the first half in transition.

Siena finished with 24 turnovers and Maciariello would like to see his team take better care of the ball, starting with their closed scrum at the University of New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon.

“Just making our guys understand, hey, we want to play fast, but you still want to play with a goal, don’t you?” Maciariello said Thursday during the UHY Center student’s “Siena Madness” event. “We don’t want to just play fast and say we play fast because we always want to be able to defend at a high pace at the other end of the pitch.”

The UNH scrum will give the Saints their last chance to take on another team before the regular season begins on Nov. 9 at 23rd-ranked Saint-Bonaventure, just 11 days away.

UNH is chosen to finish third in the America East preseason poll and is led by preseason all-league guards Jayden Martinez and Nick Guadarrama.

After playing just nine men against Saint Rose due to injury, Maciariello said he expected freshman Javian McCollum to return against UNH. McCollum is medically cleared and is training after a concussion and will play against UNH, according to Maciariello.

“With one or two more bodies I think it helps,” Maciariello said. “Now, returning Javion, 10 (players), we will be able to face a few more guys in this guard post.… I am really excited about this opportunity because now we will again have different formations to play with.

Having McCollum as the point guard will allow Siena to play more of the role of graduate student Nick Hopkins and sophomore Aidan Carpenter as the marksman, Maciariello said.

Graduate goalkeeper Anthony Gaines did not play against Saint Rose due to a sprained ankle suffered in training.

“Anthony is doing fine,” Maciariello said. “We’re just careful with his ankle and making sure he’s ready to face Saint-Bonaventure.”

Meanwhile, senior goalie Jayce Johnson (knee) is doing non-contact work but is not allowed and first year goalie Taihland Owens (knee) is also recovering and “it will probably be a bit longer,” according to Maciariello.

The more players the better, he said.

“It always makes it harder for a coach to do it, but the more guys you have to compete for for minutes, it keeps that responsibility and that job,” he said. “Championship level teams, guys are thankful for the minutes they get and so that’s what we’re aiming for.”

Maciariello said the 45 first-half possessions against Saint Rose were more than he expected. He was aiming for his thirties.

“You take out some of these turnovers where it’s unforced errors, mistakes, we’re in a great position,” he said. “I want to be able to establish (main forward) Jackson Stormo downstairs. Offensively I thought he had accelerated a bit. Obviously Saint Rose is really below him and they’re a bit smaller. I think when we play teams with two great men it will be a little easier to establish it. “

Stormo scored seven points on 3 of 8 shots with six turnovers against Saint Rose, despite having 10 rebounds and four blocks.

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