Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.
LYNDHURST, NJ – Hard to believe the race is near the midway point. Siena is ahead and the favorite. Following closely are a group of teams in second through eighth that are fairly even and jockeying to move up. Among that group Fairfield, Iona and Niagara are considered at this point the best to make it interesting for the long run . Can’t write off Rider while St. Peter’s, Canisius and Manhattan are also in the mix.
From the board room…
Bob McCloskey Insurance group has signed a marketing agreement with the MAAC. The organization is a national leader in the sports insurance and marketing areas. Part of the agreement stipulates the McCloskey group will sponsor a postgraduate scholarship to one male and female MAAC student-athlete each year. Rich Ensor, the MAAC commissioner, is excited about the venture noting, “it is particularly important that the agreement provides scholarship support for postgraduate studies for MAAC student-athletes who are known for their success on the playing fields and the classroom.” Here are the standings.
A tempo free look at offensive efficiency. The mark is simply points per possession multiplied by 100. The average possessions per game for the respective team is noted in the first column. This includes all games. The figures are from conference games only. Again, stats are courtesy of Basketball State.
- Wesley Jenkins of St.Peter’s became the program’s 28th 1,000 point scorer. Jenkins hit the mark in his 71st career game.
- Tyrone Lewis has scored over 1,600 points and is eighth on Niagara’s all time list.
- To date Anthony Nelson of Niagara has handed out over 430 assists.
- Senior guard Frank Turner needed three rebounds to become the first player in school history to score 1,500 points while adding 500 rebounds and 500 assists,
- Nick Leon of St. Peter’s has passed the 900-point mark and is soon to join the school’s 1,000 point list.
MAAC Player of the Week: Edwin Ubilies, Sr, G/F, Siena – Averaged 23 points for the week while shooting 61% from the field. Came off the bench to score a game-high 25 points in a first place showdown with Niagara.
Rookie of the Week: Derek Needham, Fr, G, Fairfield – Averaged 17 points in a 2-1 week for the Stags. The highlight was a career high 28 points in a game at Niagara. Needham also scored 10 of the Stags final 11 points in a win at Loyola.
- Canisius – Pair of league wins over Iona and Marist raised the Griffs to 3-2 in the MAAC. Three of Canisus’ last five opponents have failed to hit the 60-point mark. Senior Frank Turner continues to be the main scoring threat. Not just at Canisius either as he leads the MAAC with a 17 PPG norm. Junior Elton Frazier put up big numbers against Marist with 25 points (career high) and 10 rebounds.
- Fairfield - Stags won two of three and remain unbeaten at home. They are 5-0 at the Arena at Harbor Yard and 3-0 at their on campus Alumni Hall. Yorel Hawkins had a 34 consecutive free throw streak end. It started back on December 5th. Derek Needham has been the leading scorer but the freshman guard has handed out almost 100 assists to date. Anthony Johnson had 27 in a win over Manhattan.
- Iona – The Gaels split on the week losing to Canisius and defeating Rider. Scott Machado continued his torrid scoring as the sophomore guard averaged 20.5 PPG for the two games. A key factor in the win over Rider was the play of junior forward Alejo Rodriguez who had a career high 17 rebounds. That is the highest individual total in the MAAC this season. Sophomore Rashon Dwight has four double-digit scoring efforts. All came since his insertion into the starting lineup nine games ago.
- Loyola (MD) – After a four-game win streak the Greyhounds dropped games to the MAAC’s two leading teams, Siena and Fairfield. Loyola was faced to play three halves without leading scorer Brett Harvey who had appeared in 109 consecutive contests. Harvey didn’t dress for Siena and missed a half against the Stags after an injur from a hard foul. Harvey, in fact, was fouled with one second left in the half. Junior guard Jamal Barney picked up the scoring slack in Harvey’s absence.
- Manhattan – Tough stretch of one win in three outings with the losses by a combined total of four points. Jaspers led Rider by 16 only to fall on a tip in with less than ten seconds remaining. Junior guard Rico Pickett had a very impressive three game stretch averaging 24 PPG. Pickett had a career high 29 points in a narrow loss to Fairfield on Sunday. The lone win, a decisive 76-53 conquest of St.Peter’s last Friday.
- Marist – Dropped all three games, losing to St.Peter’s and Canisius as well as a non-league meeting with Princeton. Freshmen led in scoring each of the three outings. No surprise as 59% of the Marist point production has come from freshmen. Candin Rusin, a freshman guard, has been hitting well beyond the arc. Overall, youth and the reliance on the perimeter have made the going tough in Poughkeepsie.
- Niagara – Bilal Benn and Tyrone Lewis continue to excel. Benn is averaging a double-double (14.9 PPG, 10.3 RPG) and only Ohio State’s Evan Turner averages more points, rebounds and assists than the Niagara senior. In a two-OT loss at St.Peter’s Lewis had four at halftime and finished with 27 points. His trey with just under two seconds left forced OT. In the extra sessions he continued to be a dangerous scoring factor scoring 11 of his 27 points.
- Rider – Dropped a home game to Iona. Previously the Broncs had captured 26 of their last 31 at home. They get a quick opportunity to avenge that loss as they travel to New Rochelle to face the Gaels on MLK day. There’s not an official category but Junior Mike Ringgold has more offensive rebounds (70) than anyone else in conference. He had a huge one on a tip in with 6 seconds to go that allowed Rider to edge Manhattan in Riverdale. Justin Robinson leads the MAAC in free throw shooting (.905) but his consecutive streak of made charity tosses ended at 26. Final rebounding note… junior Novar Gadsen is the only MAAC player with over 100 (104) defensive boards.
- St. Peter’s - Defeated Marist, lost at Manhattan and came home for a thrilling two-OT win against Niagara. Latter win was significant as St. Peter’s was coming off their worst effort in over a year per coach John Dunne. Nick Leon paced St. Peter’s with 29 points while Wesley Jenkins added 27. Ryan Bacon continues to contribute solid inside play for the Peacocks. Interesting weekend to watch as St. Peter’s travels to Rider on Friday and hosts Loyola Sunday.
- Siena – Win over Canisius on Monday was their 30st straight at the Times Union Center. Saints have won 30 of their last 32 against MAAC schools. Edwin Ubiles is scoring and accurate. He’s hitting 54% from the field over the last eight games. Continued excellence at the points is another strong spot for the Saints. Ronald Moore leads the nation with 8.6 APG and in the last 48 games had one outing with more turnovers than assists. Beside leading the MAAC in categories as scoring, scoring margin, field goal percentage… Siena leads in attendance with 7,772 fans per game at the Times Union Center.
- Niagara at Iona
- Siena at Fairfield
- Rider at Iona
- Canisius at Fairfield
- St.Peter’s at Niagara
- Rider at Canisius
- Iona at Manhattan
- Loyola at Marist
- St.Peter’s at Canisius
- Fairfield at Iona
- Siena at Manhattan
- Rider at Niagara