Checking in on… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 13th, 2010

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

JERSEY CITY, NJ – During a timeout at the Canisius-St.Peter’s game, the PA announcer was putting an advertising pitch in for the upcoming MAAC postseason tournament in Albany. “See who will emerge as the MAAC men’s and women’s champions in 2010,” the announcer said.  At which yours truly remarked to a press row neighbor, ‘Siena and Marist.’ The neighbor chuckled but didn’t disagree.

The Marist women are a clear cut favorite but that’s another story. On the men’s side Siena is ahead of the pack. It’s ‘their championship to lose’  as they say and not because it is being contested on their Times-Union homecourt. Siena is extremely talented, battle-tested and well-coached. A very imposing combination indeed.

Notes and Milestones

  • St. Peter’s overtime win over Canisius on Super Bowl Sunday earned the Peacocks a 4-0 sweep of Niagara and Canisius for the first time in program history.
  • Siena’s Ronald Moore scored the 1000th point of his career in the win over Iona. This marks the second straight season Siena has three 1000-point scorers on the floor the same time.
  • The win over Canisius was St. Peter’s’ second OT win of the season. The last season that happened was during 2005-06 when the Peacocks won three of four extra session meetings.
  • Frank Turner became the sixth player in Canisius history to attempt 600 free throws. Turner hit the charity stripe mark in the loss at Niagara.
  • Iona hit the 18-win mark for the 19th time in the program’s 70-year history. The Gaels hit double digits in conference wins for the 13th time in 29 MAAC seasons.
  • The schedule for ESPN’s BracketBusters is set. Rider at Hofstra is a ‘rematch’ from the days both schools were in the old East Coast Conference. Arguably the marquee matchup of the MAC schools (see full schedule below) is Siena at Butler on Saturday February at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Player of the Week: Alex Franklin (F) , Siena – Scored 23 points and added 7 rebounds in Siena’s win over Iona. Franklin was 7 of 9 from the field and 9 for 12 from the line.

Rookie of the Week: Derek Needham (G), Fairfield – Needham scored 20 points, his second straight 20-point outing, in the win over St. Peter’s. He added 5 rebounds and four steals in 37 minutes in that contest.

Team Breakdowns

  • Canisius – Dropped three games last week. Included were losses at Iona, Niagara and St. Peter’s. The game at St. Peter’s was an overtime contest. Turnovers were the story as the Griffins committed 64 for the three games, including 22 against St. Peter’s. Frank Turner continued his fine play and the senior guard tied the game at St. Peter’s with a coast to coast trip that ended with a buzzer-beating driving layup.
  • Fairfield – Earned their 10th home win of the season with a victory over St. Peter’s. Last time the Stags reached double figures in home wins was  the 1995-96 season when they eventually went to the NIT. After allowing 88 points to Rider two games prior, Fairfield held St. Peter’s to a season-low 46 points. Defense has been a key as the Stags have allowed less than 60 points in nine of its sixteen wins this season. Anthony Johnson, the MAAC leader in blocked shots, rejected eight against St. Peter’s.
  • Iona - Took two of three with the lone blemish a loss to Siena, something everyone in the MAAC is experiencing these days. The loss to the Saints snapped the Gaels’ eight-game win streak, their longest in a decade. Junior Alejo Rodriguez narrowly missed his fourth straight double-double in the win over Marist. Sophomore guard Scott Machado contributed steady scoring with a carreer high 24 points at Siena followed by 17 at Marist.
  • Loyola (MD) - Swept a road weekend for the first time in three years with wins at Rider and Manhattan. Greyhounds had five double figure scorers against Rider. It was the first time since January 2009 the Greyhounds performed that feat as no Loyola player attempted more than eight shots in the contest. Loyola clicked on both ends at Rider as they shot 54% for the game while holding the Broncs to eight field goals  in the second half. Shane Mack collected his first MAAC double-double in that game with a 12 point, 12 rebound outing.
  • Manhattan – Split two conference games last week. Senior guard Darryl Crawford led the way with 20 points and 4 rebounds in a win over Marist. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak and was the Jaspers’ first since January 8th. Manhattan dropped a tough 62-56 decision to Loyola on Super Bowl Sunday. Crawford and Rico Pickett shared scoring honors with 19 apiece against Loyola. Pickett still paces MAAC scorers with 20.9 PPG in MAAC play.
  • Marist – Dropped both of their conference games. Freshman guard Candon Rusin led the Red Foxes both games in scoring and had a weekly high mark of 17 points in the loss to Iona.  Rusin has hit a three pointer in 21 of Marist’s 24 games this season. Junior forward Keory Bauer who tends to favor the perimeter, used his 6’9 frame underneath to pull down 10 rebounds against Iona. Marist plays four of its last five regular season games away from home. Their final home game is a February 26 meeting with St.Peter‘s.
  • Niagara – Used defense to defeat rival Canisius 66-54. Niagara held the Golden Griffins to 4 of 15 shooting, forced nine turnovers and blocked three shots the final ten minutes. Anthony Nelson scored all of his 17 points in the second half for Niagara. Bilal Benn pulled down 11 rebounds in the win.
  • RiderJustin Robinson scored 19 points in the loss to Loyola. Robinson and teammate Ryan Thompson are the two leading free throw shooters in the MAAC. Rider had five players in double figures against Loyola. The Broncs play four of their last five games at home.
  • St. Peter’s – Bounced back from a loss at Fairfield to defeat Canisius in overtime at Yanitelli Center. The Peacocks are guaranteed a .500 MAAC record for the first time in four years. Their 14 wins is the most by a Division I school in the state of New Jersey. Wesley Jenkins led the way against Canisius with 25 points  and 10 rebounds while Darius Conley also added a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.
  • Siena – Captured a showdown with Iona 88-68 before a sold out Times-Union Center. Win pushed the home court win streak to 33 games, second longest in the country. Ryan Rossiter has posted a double-double in eight of his last nine games and the junior forward has done it thirteen times this season. Since the New Year six Player of the week awards have been cited. Alex Franklin winning the most recent makes it four out of six for the Saints.

Upcoming…The BracketBusters

February 19 –

  • William and Mary-Iona

February 20 –

  • Siena-Butler
  • New Hampshire-Loyola
  • Buffalo-St.Peter’s
  • Towson-Manhattan
  • Fairfield-Vermont
  • Rider-Hofstra
  • Marist-UC Irvine
  • James Madison-Canisius
  • Niagara-Wisconsin Milwaukee

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