Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC.
It is generally assumed the MAAC will be wide open – mo more chasing Siena. Well guess who’s in front after one game? Truth of it is the MAAC will be a great deal of fun for fans and media, a double dose of Advil for coaches. Fairfield is the favorite, but there will be several teams on their heels. Which all adds to upsets, surprises, scoreboard-watching and great fun… except at times for the coaches.
Players of the Week
- Kyle Smyth, Iona – The sophomore guard had a 26-point first half en route to a career high 29 points in the win at Albany. Smyth tallied a school record eight treys in that game.
- Ryan Rossiter, Siena – Rossiter averaged 19.3 PPG and 17.7 RPG over the last three games.
Rookie of the Week
Marvin Jordan, Niagara – In a four game stretch, the 5’11 guard averaged 12.5 PPG, 3.0 APG and 2.5 APG. His 17 points in a win over Bowling Green established a new career high.
1. Siena (2-4, 1-0) – Not an easy road, as the Saints lost to Butler and Princeton (in overtime). Siena drew first blood in conference play with a nice road win at Rider, however. A 22% turnover rate illustrates some of the early difficulties at this point. Their efficiency margin is -1 (100 OE – 101 DE). Despite an uptempo (72 possessions) pace, the Saints are only forcing opponents into a 19% turnover rate.
Player of Note: Ryan Rossiter, who now has a Siena record with 37 career double-doubles.
2. Rider (2-4, 0-1) – Dropped two straight tough ones at home. After losing the conference opener against Siena on Friday, the Broncs were upended by Hofstra two days later. The Broncs sport a 104 offensive efficiency rate and an impressive 55% eFG percentage. They were however, under 100 in both setbacks last weekend. A 22% turnover rate (26% versus Hofstra) has been the root of their undoing in some close contests.
Player of Note: Junior Brandon Penn scored 14 points and added nine rebounds (both career highs) in the loss to Siena.
3. Loyola (3-2) – A loss at Vermont balances a win against Morgan State at home. The Greyhounds are solid defensively, with a 93 DE rating and not too bad on offense sporting an OE of 100. An 18% turnover rate helps the offense smooth while an opposing eFG mark of 44% is a defensive key. Loyola averages 69 possessions per outing but seems comfortable at varying tempos.
Player of Note: Sophomore forward Erik Etherly pulled down a game and career high 13 rebounds in narrow 51-48 setback at Vermont.
4. Canisius (3-2) – Earned a New York split last week, dropping an 81-64 decision to Buffalo at home before defeating Binghamton on the road. The Golden Griffs are holding the opposition to 95 defensive efficiency. Turnovers are noteworthy on both sides of the ball. Canisius forces opposition into a 22% turnover rate, but on their end, the turnover rate is exactly the same and affecting the offense. The weekend is highlighted by visits to Iona on Friday and Marist Sunday.
Player of Note: Senior forward Elton Frazier scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 19 foul-plagued minutes against Buffalo.
5. Iona (3-3) – The Gaels topped Albany and Norfolk State on the road to get to .500. They have a big weekend, hosting Canisius and Niagara. Iona holds opponents to a defensive efficiency rating of 98, but the defensive eFG mark is a too-generous 53.5%. Turnovers have offset that. Tim Cluess’ club is forcing opponents into a hefty 24% turnover rate.
Player of Note: Beside Kyle Smyth’s outburst, junior guard Scott Machado had scored 14 points, paired with a career high 15 assists against Albany.
6. Fairfield (2-3) – The Stags snapped a three-game losing streak with an easy win over Norfolk State in the Hoop Group Classic at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Defense has been sound with a 90.7 defensive efficiency rating. Offensive rebounding percentage has been a strength, leading opponents 35%-28%. The Achilles’ heel to date is a 45% eFG mark. Offensively, the OE rating is coming along at 95, thanks to an eye popping 132 in the 91-56 win over Norfolk.
Player of Note: Senior forward Warren Edney averaged 18 PPG the last two outings.
7. Niagara (2-4) – The Purple Eagles dropped road games to Albany and Detroit, but remain uptempo with 71 possessions per game. Niagara’s been stagnant on both sides of the ball, but at least they take care of the rock, sporting an 18% turnover rate. Still not enough to counter a 41% eFG mark and an offensive rebounding percentage deficit (OREB Pct – Opponents OREB Pct) of -10%, so eventually they’ll have to up their scoring output.
Player of Note: Beside Marvin Jordan’s noted exploits, junior forward Kashief Edwards was named to the Legends Classic Detroit Subregional All-Tournament team after averaging 14.7 PPG with 7.0 RPG.
8. Manhattan (2-4) – The Jaspers had a rough go of it at the Old Spice Classic, dropping three games. In battling Georgia closely, they eventually came up short, dropping a 61-58 matchup. Manhattan simply has trouble scoring; their pace is in the mid sixties possession-wise but the offensive efficiency of 91 and eFG percentage of 41% are woefully below par.
Player of Note: Sophomore forward George Beamon had a consistently strong line against Georgia, 14 points, ten rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots.
9. St. Peter’s (2-4) – As was the case last year, good defense, not so good offense. John Dunne’s club earned a nice win over Alabama at the Paradise Jam before coming home to defeat LIU, but took a step back with a loss at Seton Hall. The Peacocks’ OE is 80 while the DE is a more-than-acceptable 96. A return to form of Wesley Jenkins making his season debut against Long Island will help. Keeping Ryan Bacon, the main interior threat, out of foul trouble will also be a positive.
Player of Note: Jeron Belin, a senior forward, hit the game-winner against Alabama and had a team high 23 points against LIU.
10. Marist (0-6) - Another struggle, even in the early going. Red Foxes have dropped all six games by twenty points or more. The efficiency margin is a whopping -36, with the OE at 81 and defensive efficiency a too generous 118. On a bright note, the conference schedule tips off this weekend and both games (Niagara on Friday, Canisius on Sunday) are in the friendly confines of home, the McCann Center.
Player of Note: Redshirt freshman swingman Anell Alexis averaged a gritty 5.3 rebounds over three games since the last update.
A Look Ahead
- December 4: Rider gets the unfortunate privilege of a trip to the Pete to face Pitt, while Manhattan takes on St. Peter’s.
- December 5: Niagara and Iona square off while Loyola and Fairfield match up.
- December 8: Loyola gets a crack at George Mason, but meanwhile in conference play, Niagara pays a visit to Buffalo.
- December 10: Fairfield meets Siena, while St. Francis (NY) and Canisius battle out of conference.