O26 Weekly Awards: Hawaii, Javon McCrea, Leon Rice & Loyola Marymount

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on January 1st, 2014

Aside from some Diamond Head Classic fun and a solid slate on Saturday, the past week in college basketball was probably the lightest we will see all season, thank goodness — there were two entire days (before and after Christmas Day) that featured zero games. Luckily, the sheer quantity of contests will pick up dramatically as conference play starts up across the country this week. Despite the lack of hoops action, though, there were still several impressive performances and exciting finishes that caught our attention during the holiday week, so let’s ring in the New Year by passing out a few awards to some worthy O26 recipients.

Hawaii had a fine week at the Diamond Head Classic. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Hawaii had a fine week at the Diamond Head Classic. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

O26 Team of the Week

Hawaii. Maybe because it’s the only thing on at that time, but the Diamond Head Classic has become something of a beloved Christmastime tradition for college basketball fans in recent years. Last season’s tournament featured an awesome, tournament-winning blocked-shot by Arizona, and the two years prior included top-15 upsets against unranked opponents. It’s a fun event. This year, the Classic’s host — a Hawaii team already outperforming expectations in non-conference play — made the most of its home-court advantage, nearly beating eventual runner-up Boise State and then winning back-to-back hard-fought games over quality opponents.

Last Sunday, the Warriors were a Garrett Nevels three-pointer away from knocking off the Broncos, ultimately falling 62-61 to a team that will likely compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament come March. It was a close-but-no-cigar kind of defeat. So how did Hawaii respond to the disappointment? By coming out the next night and winning an equally close game against Saint Mary’s, another squad with legitimate postseason potential. In a back-and-forth contest throughout, senior forward Christian Standhardinger was the eventual hero, answering a game-tying basket by the Gaels’ Beau Levesque with a baseline jumper of his own to give the Warriors a thrilling 76-74 victory. Then, on Christmas Day, Gib Arnold’s team did what it does best on the defensive end, forcing 17 turnovers and beating Oregon State in decisive fashion — the six-point margin does not indicate how much better Hawaii was — to win the consolation title. The victory was the Warriors’ first over a Pac-12 opponent in seven years and moved their record to 9-3. After handling Norfolk State on Monday night, Hawaii reached double-figure wins before January for the first time since 2001-02… the last season it reached the NCAA Tournament. A program appears on the rise in Honolulu.

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The Other 26: Niagara Rushes Forth

Posted by IRenko on February 2nd, 2013

I. Renko is an RTC columnist. He will kick off each weekend during the season with his analysis of the 26 other non-power conferences. Follow him on Twitter @IRenkoHoops.

When you hear the word “Niagara” you’re not likely to think of basketball. But in the shadow of one of the world’s natural wonders, something is percolating on the hardwood. After a thrilling 93-90 overtime win over Iona that included a rally from a late 15-point deficit and a buzzer-beating three-pointer to win the game, Niagara sits atop the MAAC standings at 10-1. A win over Loyola today would cap a tremendous week for the Purple Eagles, giving them a perfect 3-0 record against the next three teams in the standings — Iona, Loyola, and Canisius — over the past seven days.

Juan'ya Green Capped Niagara's Thrilling Win Over Iona With a Last-Second Three-Pointer  in Overtime (James P. McCoy / Buffalo News)

Juan’ya Green Capped Niagara’s Thrilling Win Over Iona With a Last-Second Three-Pointer in Overtime (James P. McCoy / Buffalo News)

Last year, Niagara finished 14-19, the first time in head coach Joe Mihalich’s 10-year tenure that he suffered consecutive losing seasons. Mihalich had taken the Purple Eagles to the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and 2007 and to the NIT in 2004 and 2009, but the team had fallen behind the pack in the MAAC in the three years since. The seeds of a resurgence were planted during last year’s losing campaign, as a host of young players started to find their footing in Division 1 college hoops. Having lost no one to graduation, Niagara was predicted to finish fifth in the MAAC in the preseason coaches’ poll. That seemed a fair, perhaps optimistic, assessment, but the clear light of hindsight makes a mockery of it.

What accounts for the turnaround? Mostly the maturation of Niagara’s all-sophomore backcourt: Juan’ya Green, Antoine Mason, and Ameen Tanksley. Last year, the trio showed that they had talent. This year, they’re showing that they can channel it into efficient offense.  Green is actually averaging fewer points (16.5) than he did as a freshman (17.6), but that’s in part because he’s managed to corral his considerable talents and become a more effective facilitator. Coming out of high school, Green was known for his prodigious scoring ability, but questions lingered about his ability to create for his teammates. He’s answering those questions this year, increasing his assists (5.2 per game) and decreasing his turnovers (2.8 per game). With Green deferring more to his teammates, Mason, the son of former NBA player Anthony Mason, has stepped into the role of lead scorer. He’s upped his per-game average from 15.1 to a team-leading 18.7, but more importantly, he’s become a much more efficient scorer.  He’s increased his field goal percentage from 38.2 to 44.6. He now shoots almost 80 percent from the free throw line, after shooting less than 65 percent last year, a significant development because of his knack for getting to the charity stripe. Tanksley, for his part, has also boosted his field goal percentage, from 38.6 to 45.7 and upped his scoring average into double-digits.

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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on February 24th, 2012

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

Reader’s Take

 

Opening Tip

  • Iona holds a slim lead and finishes the regular season at home with meetings against Fairfield and St. Peter’s. Regardless of how the top four play out, they are all very much in the hunt. Loyola’s final game at Manhattan on Sunday guarantees that a fair amount of scoreboard watching will be in vogue.

Player of the Week

  • Scott Machado, Iona, 6’1″, Sr. G – Averaged 14.5 points, 12 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 3 steals for the week. The versatile  Machado had 16 points in a win at Rider, hitting all ten of his free throw attempts.

Co-Rookies of the Week

  • Chavaughn Lewis, Marist, 6’5″, Fr., G/F - A starter for three weeks now, Lewis has 14 double figure games to his credit. Against Maine, Lewis recorded career highs in points (24), rebounds (9) and assists (5).
  • Evan Hymes, Siena, 5’8″, Fr., G – Outstanding in a 21-point, 7-assist showing in the upset of Manhattan. Playing 40 minutes for the 14th time in 16 games, Hymes averaged 13.5 points per game for the week.

Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record:

1. Iona 13-3, 22-6
2. Loyola (MD) 12-4, 20-7
3. Fairfield 12-4, 17-11
4. Manhattan 11-5, 19-10
5. Rider 8-8, 11-18
6. Niagra 7-9, 12-17
7. Siena 7-10, 12-16
8. Marist 6-11, 12-17
9. St. Peter’s 4-12, 5-23
10. Canisius 1-15, 5-22

Team Rundown

  1. Iona- Won on the road at Rider before coming home to defeat Nevada in the Bracketbusters. Sean Armand led five double figure scorers for the Gaels with 22 points against Rider. Armand was 7 of 13 from three-point range. Against Nevada, a 90-84 victory,  Lamont Jones paced Iona with 18 points. Five Gaels were in double figures and Scott Machado handed out 15 assists.

    Michael Glover and Iona Are The Team To Beat In The MAAC Tourney (AP)

  2. Loyola – Lost at Marist before defeating Boston University in the Bracketbuster. Shane Walker had a 16-point, 12-rebound night in the losing effort at Marist. A team with a defensive efficiency of 96 during the MAAC season, Loyola allowed Marist a huge 114 rating in their 72-54 loss. Four Greyhounds hit double figures against BU with Robert Olson’s 17 points leading the way. Olson added 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 27th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences. The records listed are up to date, but the analysis is just through Wednesday’s games.

Reader’s Take 

 

Leading Off

A sobering, down to earth thought and time of reflection. Marist College cancelled last Sunday’s game with Fairfield and Monday’s Women’s contest against St. Peter’s. This came following a tragic fire in Poughkeepsie, NY that took the lives of three people, two of them Marist students. In a statement MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor said, “the MAAC member schools share in the grief of the Marist community and offers its condolences to the families of the students who died or were injured in this tragic fire.” Ensor also noted rescheduling of the games will be done later as the conference consults with the involved schools. Our thoughts and prayers are with those victims and their families as well.

The Week That Was

Player of the Week: Scott Machado, Iona, 6’1″, Sr., G – Posted an 11-point, 15-assist, 9-rebound effort in the win over Rider. Machado narrowly missed being Iona’s second triple-double performer in school history. Machado had only two turnovers in that win.

Iona's Scott Machado Has Been On Fire Lately

Rookie of the Week: Antoine Mason, Niagara, 6’3″, Fr., G – Averaged 20.5 points, 5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in a 1-1 week for Niagara. Mason has led Niagara in scoring the last three games. The highlight,  a 22 point effort in the victory over rival Canisius.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by rtmsf on January 12th, 2012

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences. The records listed are up to date, but the analysis is just through Wednesday’s games.

Reader’s Take 

 

The Week That Was

  • The conference slate is already one quarter in the books. Throw away those predictions. At this juncture Iona is the team to beat. Inside play (Mike Glover), an excellent lead guard (Scott Machado), the go-to scorer (Lamont Jones), and perimeter threat (Kyle Smyth) all add up for the Gaels. Not to mention, the man on the bench, Tim Cluess, who knows his X’s and O’s, thank you.
  • Loyola, Fairfield, and Manhattan stay within striking distance. Slowly, Rider has got things straightened out and is much improved after an awful start. Regardless, the Gaels lead the pack. And will be tough to reel in.

Player of the Week

  • Mike Glover, 6’7″, Sr., F, Iona – Averaged 20 points, six rebounds and three blocks the last three games (all victories) for the Gaels. Shot 64.7% from the field and 80% from the line. Enjoyed a 31-point outburst in the win at Marist.

Rookie of the Week

  • Evan Hymes, 5’8″, Fr., G, Siena – Averaged 15.7 points and 4.1 assists as the Saints captured two of their last three games. Led Siena with 22 points in a loss to Iona at Madison Square Garden. Ran the team extremely well, logging the full 40 minutes in both wins over Fairfield and Niagara.

Mike Glover Had A Big Week (AP)

Standings

Team, MAAC record, overall record

1. Iona 5-1, 13-4
2. Loyola (MD) 4-1, 11-4
3. Manhattan 4-2, 11-7
4. Fairfield 3-2, 8-8
5. Sienna 3-3, 8-8
6. Marist 2-3, 7-9
7. Niagra 1-4, 6-11
8. Rider 3-3, 6-12
9. Canisius 0-5, 3-12
10. St. Peter’s 2-3, 3-13

Power Rankings

  1. Iona: Won three straight sweeping their two conference games the past week. Iona knocked off Niagara, 73-61, behind Mike Glover’s 19 points and seven rebounds. The Gaels then traveled to Marist, scoring a  100-76 victory. Offensive efficiency was a gaudy 127.0. Glover again was the leader with 31 points and seven boards. Kyle Smyth added 17 points on 5 of 8 shooting from three. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 3rd, 2011

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC.

Reader’s Take

 

On-Site: St. Peters vs. Siena

The conference’s two most recent champions, St. Peter’s and Siena, tipped off last Thursday night. Defending champion St. Peter’s hosted a Siena team trying to get through injuries and searching for their identity. Sophomore point guard Rakeem Brookins is out for the season. The Saints are still not getting the services of Owen Wignot, a good inside player. Early on, the Peacocks built a 21-7 lead as yet another slow start by the Saints put them in an early hole. Down nine at the half, Siena stayed tough. Even faced with a 16-point deficit on the road with fourteen minutes and change to play, Mitch Buonoguro’s group stayed focused. The lead was built courtesy of a tough man-to-man defense by St. Peter’s. Siena ws able to slowly get back in as their 2-3 zone and a St. Peter’s dry spell open the door. The Saints drew even late, but never get the lead, which Buonoguro later pointed out as very significant. Down the stretch, St. Peter’s nursed a slight five-point lead and with less than three minutes to play. Brandon Hall, who hadn’t hit a shot all night, buried a crucial three-pointer for the Peacocks. That made it a three-possession game and proved to be the dagger for Siena. “This was a tough game,” St. Peter’s coach John Dunne said afterward. “It’s the type of game you will see a lot of in this league.”

Accolades

  • Player of the Week: Scott Machado, Iona. The senior guard scored a career high 34 points in the Gaels’ 104-99 double overtime victory over St. Joseph’s. He is just the fifth MAAC player in history to record 1,200 and 600 assists.

Iona's Scott Machado Might Win Several of These

  • Rookie of the Week: Chavaugh Lewis, Marist. Lewis had a career high 23 points in Marist’s victory over Colgate. A freshman guard, Lewis averaged 15 points in a two-game stretch.

Power Rankings

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