Ray Floriani of College Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.
A Look Back
Two conference games are in the books for every team. MAAC play will resume after the new year, but early returns show Marist undefeated. No, we are not talking about Brian Giorgis’ women’s team. The unblemished group is Chucky Martin’s club, 2-0 and after one weekend, they’ve doubled their win total of a year ago. Can they stay around and be a factor? Probably not. Suffice it to say, conference teams are now considering their trip to the Hudson Valley in a different light.
1. Fairfield: (7-3, 2-0) In the midst of a six-game win streak which includes conference wins at home against Loyola and on the road at Siena. The Siena game, a 72-55 decision, saw the Stags post outstanding efficiency numbers on both ends. The offense was 108 while the defense sported a lockdown 82. Offensive rebounding percentage has been a strong suit as Fairfield holds a 35%-31% edge in that category.
Notable: Ryan Olander scored 17 points and pulled down ten boards in the win over Holy Cross. It was the 6’11 junior’s second double-double in a four game stretch.
2. Iona: (7-3, 2-0 overall) The Gaels ran their win streak to seven games with conference conquests of Niagara and Canisius and non-league wins over Long Island and Fairleigh Dickinson. The efficiency margin is an impressive +11 with an OE of 108 and DE 97. The Gaels are also forcing opponents into a 24% TO rate. Each of the last seven games saw Iona post an offensive efficiency of 100 or better with, most recent, a 121 in the 87-66 win over FDU.
Notable: Junior Mike Glover continues to excel for the Gaels. Glover earned conference Co-Player of the Week honors, averaging 24 PPG, 11 rebounds and shooting 69% from the floor the past two games. A test against Syracuse awaits Saturday.
3. St.Peter’s: (5-4, 2-0) A three-game win streak includes MAAC conquests at Loyola and against Manhattan. The Peacocks also came from behind to edge Wagner 51-50 in Staten Island. Offensive efficiency, overall, is very low at 86. The defensive efficiency is a better than average 93. Turnover rate of 23% and offensive rebound percentage are the main setbacks on offense. John Dunne’s crew is grabbing 27.7% of the offensive boards while opponents are at 36.3%.
Notable: Senior guard Nick Leon paced the Peacocks in the come-from-behind win at Wagner. St.P eter’s trailed by 14 with just over 11 minutes remaining.
4. Marist: (2-9, 2-0) The Red Foxes swept their home dates with Niagara and Canisius. Following the conference wins, Marist dropped games on the road to Rutgers and Vermont while losing to Lehigh at home. Up-tempo play was the key in the two conference wins. For the year, Marist averages 71 possessions with an OE of 87. In the two MAAC meetings the numbers reflected an average pace of 79 possessions and an OE of 97.
Notable: Freshman forward Menelik Watson earned conference Rookie of the Week plaudits for a three-game stretch in which he averaged 11 points per game to go with 4.7 boards. Watson also shot 57% from the field for those three contests. Junior guard R.J. Hall pitched in 13.3 PPG and five assists the last three games
5. Rider: (7-5, 1-1) The Broncs of Lawrenceville defeated UMBC 81-39 while losing to Pitt 87-68 and in overtime, 71-67 at Drexel. Rider posted an off-the-charts +62 efficiency margin against UMBC. Rider was 120 in offensive efficiency and 58 defensively. Averaging 66 possessions on the year, they pushed it to 73 possessions against Drexel, Rider’s fastest matchup to date this season. They struggled on the offensive end with a 92 efficiency mark.
Notable: Junior Brandon Penn and senior Mike Ringgold combined for 33 points at Drexel. The pair, enjoying a homecoming, are both Philadelphia natives.
6. Siena: (3-6, 1-1) The Saints snapped a two-game losing streak with a 72-69 win over Florida Atlantic. Included was a MAAC loss to Fairfield in a rematch of last March’s conference championship game. Their TO rate is a bit high at 21.5%, but was only 14% in the win over FAU. Saints average 100.7 OE however the 72-55 Fairfield loss saw their lowest OE of the season at 82.
Notable: Clarence Jackson was a bright spot with 14 points against Fairfield. Jonathan Breeden got the start over Rakeem Brookins (due to illness reasons) at the point in the Fairfield game. Breeden scored nine points in 16 minutes.
7. Canisius: (4-5, 0-2) The Golden Griffins dropped three of the last four, including conference games at Marist and Iona. Offense is one of the bigger problems. Griffs have an OE of 95, and part of the reason is a TO rate of 24% and an eFG percentage of 47%. Defensive efficiency is a spot-on average 100. Not a bad mark, but the defensive TO rate is 20%, meaning opponents are not seeing pressure on the defensive end and Canisius is losing opportunities to score off forced turnovers.
Notable: In a win at South Dakota, sophomore Alshwan Hymes notched career highs in scoring (18 points) and three pointers made (four).
8. Loyola: (4-5, 0-2) Jimmy Patsos’ boys halted a three-game losing streak with a 65-42 pasting of Mount St. Mary’s. Included in that streak were conference losses to St. Peter’s and at Fairfield. Doing a good job defensively, the Greyhounds hold opponents to 93 DE. The offense is struggling, with an OE of 96. Basically, it is an issue of simply putting the ball in the basket as the eFG percentage is a paltry 44%.
Notable: Shane Walker, a junior forward, captured the conference Co-Player of the Week distinction with an 18/10 norm for the week. Walker had double-doubles in both outings for the Greyhounds.
9. Niagara: (3-7, 0-2) Like Loyola, Niagara put a losing skid to bed, with a 69-61 win at St. Bonaventure. Included in the losses were conference setbacks at Marist and Iona. In the Bonaventure game, Niagara posted their best OE of the season, 103. The defense posted an outstanding DE mark of 91. The turnover rate of 18% given a quick pace of 72 possessions per game, is also a plus. Offensive rebounding is a definite sore spot. The Purple Eagles have a severe deficit with a 28% compared to opposition 39.7% offensive rebounding percentage.
Notable: Junior forward Kashief Edwards paced Niagara with 18 points in a loss to Buffalo. Purple Eagles now have eight straight wins over ‘Little Three’ rival St. Bonaventure.
10. Manhattan: (3-8, 0-2) The Jaspers have had a rough go of it, dropping conference games to Rider and St. Peter’s before losing to Fordham and Binghamton. Manhattan has now lost eight straight. Their pace is a modest 64 possessions per game but the efficiency margin is a -18. Coach Rohrssen’s team has struggled on both ends of the floor. Offensively, a 20% TO rate is a positive. Their finished possessions do not render much however with an OE of 92, largely due to 42% eFG shooting.
Notable: Sophomore guard George Beamon had 12 points and11 boards in the ‘Battle of the Bronx’ setback at Fordham. Beamon has four double-doubles on the season.
A Look Ahead
- On Saturday, the MAAC takes on the Big East, as Loyola gets a crack at Georgetown, while Iona makes a trip to Syracuse. Iona nearly upset the Orange in the 1998 Tournament, but Jim Boeheim’s troops were bailed out by a three in the waning seconds.
- Now that finals are over, we get back to basketball, with challenges such as Fairfield hosing Vermont (12/20), Georgia Tech making a trip to Siena (12/22), and Fairfield getting a shot at the Gators (12/29).