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Sports

Despite Major Improvements, Coach Jamion Christian Leaves Siena as Saints Fall Short of MAAC Title

In his inaugural season, Saints coach Jamion Christian was presented with a tall task – turn around a team coming off a season tied with their worst record in school history, and emerge in a tough conference as a real contender. Christian did just that, turning around an 8-24 squad into a real title contender, posting tough wins over good schools and entering the MAAC tournament with high hopes to come out on top. Despite some heavy losses, Siena still finished with a positive record of 17-16 (11-7 MAAC), although leaving the MAAC Championship with a second round bounce to Iona, after a commanding victory over Ryder.

In the first round of the tournament, the Siena Saints faced the Ryder Broncs at the Times Union Center, and looked more prepared than ever. Three Saints poured in more than 15 points in assisting their win; Evan Fisher scored 22 points, Jalen Pickett had 20 points and Sloan Seymour added 18 points in the 87-81 victory. In addition to this, Siena’s halftime score was 30-29, leading them to score 57 points in the second half, which was a season-best for Siena. In addition to this, Siena shot 65.1% from the field, and 57.1% from beyond the arc.

In the semifinals, Siena met the Iona Gaels for the third time this season, splitting the first two meetings among the teams. Despite riding fresh off a win, the Saints had no answer for Iona players Asante Gist, who tied his season high of 22 points, Rickey McGill who poured in 18, and E.J. Crawford who scored 16 points, all in the effort to lift the Gaels to a 73-57 win over the Saints. For the Saints, two key players in the loss were Evan Fisher, who scored 15 points, and Jalen Pickett, who had 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. In addition, Kevin Degnan added right rebounds.

After finishing in a five-way tie for second place in the MAAC this season, the George Washington Colonials announced that after firing their current head coach, Siena head coach Jamion Christian would be his immediate replacement, leaving Siena to now be their third head coach within three seasons. In an interview, Christian said, “I am honored to be able to return home to take a job I have dreamed of having since I was a child… It was a difficult decision to leave Siena because I absolutely loved the people, but there were only a few jobs that could take me away, and I can’t wait to get to work in Foggy Bottom.” Christian was originally signed with Siena for the next four years.