Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.
LYNDHURST, NJ – Just before the New Year teams rounded out the non-conference schedule before MAAC play heats up not long after the ball drops in Times Square. The significant contest of note was two days before Christmas as Siena ‘held serve’ defeating conference contender Rider in a game at Albany.
The other big news came in the boardroom not on the court. The MAAC weighed bids and decided to award their championships to the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The tournament will be held there 2012-14. In choosing the 8,000 seat facility, MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor wanted a truly neutral site. Ensor feels the facility is in proximity to member schools and the conference can draw at a locale where a member school does not use as a home facility on a full or part-time basis. The Basketball Hall of Fame in the same city is prepared to help setting up a special exhibit regarding MAAC history.
A tempo-free look at defensive efficiency. The metric is simply points per possession allowed multiplied by 100. The average possessions per game for the respective teams is noted in the first column. This includes all games. The next time out we will focus on MAAC play only as everyone will have at least four conference games in the books which should allow us to see trends start to take shape. Again, stats are courtesy of Basketball State.
St.Peter’s was sort of a surprise though the 6-6 record is deceiving as John Dunne’s club had a few tough losses. Niagara’s 96 is high but can be explained given the schedule and injuries. The fact that the Purple Eagles have been able to weather those setbacks (notably injuries to Bilal Benn and Tyrone Lewis) and find a way to start 2-0 in conference play (9-5 overall) speaks volumes of their resiliency and the job coach Joe Mihalich is doing.
- Rider junior Justin Robinson leads the MAAC in free throw shooting and is 17th nationally.
- Tyrone Lewis is four steals away from setting the all-time record at Niagara. Lewis is five assists from becoming the 5th MAAC player in history to record 2,000 points, 200 assists and 200 steals.
- In Canisius’ 63-48 win over New Orleans, the 48 points marked the lowest total allowed by the Griff defense since last century. Fairfield scored 45 on February 8,1997 in a Canisius victory .
- Derek Needham of Fairfield is second in conference scoring (15.8) and assist (6.1) totals.
MAAC Co-Players of the Week :
- Brett Harvey (G), Loyola – Led the Greyhounds to a big 72-67 upset at Indiana. Harvey scored nine of his game high 25 points down the stretch as Loyola sealed the victory. He added four assists and five rebounds in 29 minutes.
- Alex Franklin (F), Siena – Scored 22 points (9 of 13 shooting) and added 11 rebounds in the Saints’ big victory over conference contender Rider in Albany. It was Franklin’s second double-double of the season.
Rookie of the Week. Rashard McGill (G), Iona - Averaged 11.5 points and 3.5 rebounds off the bench in a win over FDU and a loss at UConn. McGill scored his career-high 12 points in the game against the nationally ranked Huskies on Sunday.
- Canisius - Finished second at the Southern Miss Christmas Classic by winning two out of three games in the round-robin event. Canisius fell to North Florida but defeated Southern Mississippi and New Orleans. The loss was Southern Mississippi’s first in the three years of the event. Senior guard Frank Turner continued his outstanding play, averaging 19 points for the three games. A good sign is scoring help from junior forward Elton Frazier who had 17 in the New Orleans game and averages 11 ppg on the season.
- Fairfield - Derek Needham is now second in conference scoring with 15.8 ppg. Needham is one of two Fairfield players to start all eleven games to date and have double figures scoring in ten of them. Not just a scorer, the freshman guard averages 6.1 assists per outing. Fairfield owns a 5-0 home record to date. The Stags played Holy Cross, Fordham and St.Francis (NY) at the on campus facility, Alumni Hall.
- Iona – Started a six-game road trip, the season’s longest, with an 82-60 win at FDU. That was followed by a 93-74 setback at UConn. Sophomore Scott Machado and freshman Rashard McGill were the only Gaels to average double figures for the two games. Machado has shown no signs of a sophomore jinx and has displayed the ability to hand out assists as well as score. Senior Milan Prodanovic knocked down five three-pointers, accounting for all of his 15 points in the win at FDU.
- Loyola - The Greyhounds had never defeated a Big Ten team in eight tries. Number nine was the one as they defeated Indiana 72-67 in Bloomington. Loyola led by 24 the first half before the Hoosiers came back and held a three-point lead in the stretch. Resiliency and senior guard Brett Harvey secured the victory, Loyola scored 10 of the game’s last 12 points with Harvey scoring nine of them. Harvey finished with a game high 25 points, added five assists and had two four-point plays the second half.
- Manhattan – The Jaspers have spent virtually the entire month on the road. After the New Year the trek continues with a visit to Marist January 2nd before returning to the friendly confines of Draddy Gymnasium. Darryl Crawford and Antoine Pearson have been steady contributors. Of late, Manhattan is also getting contributions from upperclassmen Patrick Bouli and Andrew Gabriel. The Jaspers had their longest layoff of the season going from December 19 until December 30 between games.
- Marist - Dropped their first nine games. Freshmen are getting most of the minutes, 24 of the first 45 starts, and account for 55% of the team’s scoring those initial nine outings. First year point guard Delvin Price had a recent three-game run with a 9:4 A/TO ratio. Veteran contributions are coming for the Red Foxes as well. Sophomore guard RJ Hall returned to the lineup after sitting out the first semester due to academics. Hall, a solid performer at guard last year, scored nine points and had four assists in a recent loss to Lehigh. Junior guard Daye Kaha scored a team high 11 off the bench in that same contest.
- Niagara – Came back from 19 down to defeat rival St. Bonaventure. Niagara was without the services of All-MAAC performer Bilal Benn. The Purple Eagles, in fact, have played eight of the first dozen games minus a first team all-conference performer as Tyrone Lewis missed a few contests earlier in the season. Senior sixth man Demetrius Williamson has answered the call filling in for injured teammates and posting 12 points per game. He had a career high 22 against St. Bonaventure and hit several crucial threes down the stretch.
- Rider - There is something about 8-6. Rider’s loss to Siena just before Christmas to drop to 8-6. Rider was 8-6 last year then proceeded to win 10 of 13 down the stretch and be selected for postseason play. Rider was 8-6 in ‘08 and finished with 23 wins. The Broncs were 8-6 in ‘07 and doubled the win total from the previous year. So 8-6 is no cause for immediate concern. Rider has won 15 of its last 22 (.682) regular season MAAC games. Mike Ringgold had a double-double at Siena with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
- St. Peter’s – Traveled to Piscataway and came out on the short end of a 66-42 decision at the hands of Rutgers. In that contest, the Scarlet Knights rejected 18 St. Peter’s shots. A positive note was Steven Samuels who led St.Peter’s with 14 points and 7 rebounds. The Peacocks bounced back for a road win at Stony Brook on Monday. Wesley Jenkins leads the team (13.7 ppg) in scoring while Nick Leon has contributed steadily from his guard spot. Darius Conley has also been a factor off the bench.
- Siena – Drew first blood in conference action knocking off contender Rider 84-62 in a pre-Christmas meeting in Albany. LaSalle transfer Kyle Griffin saw his first action in a Siena uniform. Griffin, coming off three knee surgeries, played both guard positions and scored five points in 13 minutes. Griffin will contribute and add depth to what is undoubtedly the MAAC’s best starting five unit. The senior lead guard is running away with the national assist race. Moore, at last count, was averaging 8.4 assists per game. With the likes of Alex Franklin and Edwin Ubiles, Moore has capable teammates that are converting his passes.
- Rider at Loyola
- Iona at Niagara
- Manhattan at Marist
- Mount St. Mary’s at Siena
- Marist at St. Peter’s
- Fairfield at Niagara
- Siena at Loyola
- Iona at Canisius
- Princeton at Marist
- Canisius at Marist
- Niagara at Siena
- Iona at Rider
- Niagara at St. Peter’s
To all A Happy and prosperous New Year…