Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.
LYNDHURST, NJ – Virtually every MAAC team has two conference games in the books as we head into the holidays. By Christmas everyone will have played a pair as Siena hosts Rider on December 23 in a meeting of 1-0 teams with title aspirations (not just sugar plums) ‘dancing in their heads’…
Early on in league play things are shaping up as expected but it is very early. The one mark that stands out is Iona at 0-2. The Gaels, off their win against Albany, are 5-2 out of conference with wins over Creighton ( in the Old Spice) and at Providence on their resume. They played both MAAC games at home but dropped meetings with St. Peter’s and Siena.
The MAAC nearly made it 2-0 against the Big East on the week. Following Iona’s won, Rider lost a tough one in overtime at Rutgers.
A tempo free note… POSS is the average possessions per game. All games are counted. When conference play heats up the focus will be on MAAC games only. The TO rate is turnovers divided by possessions. Under 20% is an excellent figure. That means only one fifth or less of total possessions end in a turnover. Again thanks to the people at Basketball State for the data.
- Frank Turner of Canisius has 27 straight double figure scoring games, the nation’s 7th best mark among active players.
- Prior to Providence, the last Iona win versus a Big East team was December 27, 2001 over Seton Hall in the Holiday Festival at the Garden.
- Antoine Pearson of Manhattan became the program’s 32nd player to hit the 1,000 point mark.
- Marist has hit at least one three-pointer in 299 consecutive games.
- Tyrone Lewis broke Niagara’s career three-point field goal record. Lewis has 227 treys to date. The record was held by former teammate Lorenzo Miles (220). He also became Niagara’s 11th player to hit the 1,000-point select circle.
- Ryan Thompson moved to 9th on Rider’s all-time scoring list. Thompson passed Rider Hall of Famer Greg Burston ‘99. Thompson went over the 1,500 point mark in the game at Rutgers.
Co-Players of the Week.
- Anthony Johnson (C), 6-8 SR, Fairfield – Averaged double-doubles in two wins. Scored 21 against Sacred Heart and pulled down 8 offensive rebounds in a win over Holy Cross. Shot 57% from the floor for the two outings.
- Tyrone Lewis (G), 5-11 SR, Niagara – Enjoyed back to back 26-point performances. Had 6 treys is a loss to Buffalo then canned 5 beyond the arc in a win at Illinois State.
Rookie of the Week. Kyle Smyth (G), 6-4 Fr, Iona – Led the Gaels in scoring in their two wins. Highlight was a career high 21 points in the victory at Providence. Shot 71% from the field and 6 of 10 (60%) beyond the arc for the three games.
- Canisius – Lost Saturday to Bowling Green to put the Griffs at 4-4. It marked the first time in six years Canisius was at .500 eight games into the season. The Bowling Green game was a return for the 2009 Bracket Buster won by Canisius on the road. Senior guard Frank Turner scored 12 points and has scored in double figures 27 consecutive games. It is not all Turner as junior Julius Coles had 17 against Bowling Green. Freshman Alshwan Hymes looked good (9 pts 7 rebs) against Bowling green and junior Tomas Vazquez-Simmons had four blocks in that contest.
- Fairfield – Victories over Sacred Heart and Holy Cross raised their record to 8-2, their best start since the 1977-78 team got out to a 9-1 beginning. That club went 22-5 and earned a NIT berth. Triple threat! Anthony Johnson and freshman guard Derek Needham averaged double figures the two games but the team’s leading scorer for the week was Yorel Hawkins at 19.5 ppg. Six Stags scored in double figures in that 93-77 win over Sacred Heart.
- Iona – Won two of three with the highlight a 82-73 victory at Providence. Freshman Kyle Smyth (see Rookie of the Week) led the way for the Gaels. Iona also received contributions from sophomore Scott Machado (11 ppg, 3.3 apg) and senior Jonathan Huffman who scored 11 points while grabbing 7 rebounds at Providence. Push the pace! Iona is 7-1 when scoring 80+ under coach Kevin Willard.
- Loyola (MD) – The Greyhounds dropped their third straight with a 63-58 OT loss at Coppin State. Their defeat was the first after six straight extra session victories by Loyola, five coming under current mentor Jimmy Patsos. Shooting was the downfall as Loyola shot 28% and 5 of 27 ( 19%) from three point range. Jamal Barney led the way with 16 points but the senior guard was 0-8 from three. The Greyhounds rejected 9 shots in that contest, matching the second highest total in school history. Interior defense has been a constant as Loyola blocked less than three shots in a game only once in the first nine outings.
- Manhattan – The road was unkind to the Jaspers with losses at Hofstra and Morgan State. The 44-39 contest on Long Island saw the Jaspers force the Pride into 19 turnovers but fail to capitalize, suffering a 21% shooting night from the floor. Manhattan then dropped an 83-74 decision at two time defending MEAC champion Morgan State. Despite the loss, balance was the key as five Jaspers scored in double figures. Darryl Crawford’s play was a bright spot (15 pts, 6.5 rpg) for the week.
- Marist – Lost its home opener to Boston University 88-72. The December 12 date for the first home game was the latest in the program’s history. Marist played its initial six games away from the friendly confines of McCann Center. They had three double figure scorers against BU, all freshman. Guard Candin Rusin (a career high 15 points), forward (13 points) and guard Devin Price (a career high 12 points). Marist frosh have accounted for 55% of the offense to date and three freshmen routinely are on the floor for the opening tip.
- Niagara – Handed Illinois State its first loss of the season with a 76-68 road victory. Illinois State owned the boards 49-28 but the Purple Eagles shot 47.6% (10 of 21) from beyond the arc. Tyrone Lewis (Co-Player of the Week) hit five treys at Illinois State including two in a 25-second stretch that all but clinched it for Niagara. Kashief Edwards has been a productive scorer and shot blocker for the Purple Eagles. Edwards rejected four shots (for the fifth time this season) at Illinois State. The Redbirds had won 34 of their last 38 at home.
- Rider – Defeated UMBC in a road game that was a return from last year’s Bracket Buster, also won by the Broncs. Ryan Thompson had 21 points and 7 rebounds at UMBC then followed up with a game high 26 points in a 80-70 overtime loss at Rutgers. The Broncs were scoreless in the extra session at Rutgers. Rider lost to LaSalle at home, 69-60, on December 9th. It was only the fifth loss in 31 games at on-campus Alumni Gym. Justin Robinson had a 19 consecutive free throws made stretch and leads the MAAC with a 91% mark (31 of 43).
- St. Peter’s – Posted a 1-1 week defeating NJIT and losing a heartbreaker to Wagner. Both games were at home. Nick Leon and Wesley Jenkins continue to score for the Peacocks. Jenkins had 25 in the win over NJIT. Added production is coming from 6-7 forward Darius Conley, 11 points VS NJIT and a double double against Wagner. Next two games have a NJ flavor as St.Peter’s visits FDU Saturday and Rutgers on Tuesday.
- Siena – Dropped a road game at Northern Iowa. The four losses (Goergia Tech, Temple, St.John’s and UNI) saw the opponent hit over 60% from the floor the second half. Saints drew first blood in the MAAC with a 73-60 victory at Iona. In the process Siena earned its 38th victory in the last 46 MAAC contests and made it 15 of the last 19 wins in conference games on the road. Four starters average 11 points or better while the fifth, Ronald Moore, leads the nation with 8 assists per game.
Upcoming games of note.
- Fairfield at Rhode Island
- Loyola at Indiana
- St. Bonaventure at Niagara
- St. Peter’s at Rutgers
- Rider at Siena
- Iona at UConn
- St. Joseph’s at Siena
- Canisius at St. Bonaventure
- Manhattan at Vanderbilt
To all… a Happy Holiday!!!