We are one month away from the end of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season, so as Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos says, ‘get your all MAAC passes.’ After a hard fought, literally at times, weekend of conference play, Iona leads the league by a game, with Rider a game behind.
Stock Up: Marist – Don’t look now, but the Red Foxes have won three games in a row. Not only that, but Marist swept the Buffalo swing – road games at Niagara and at Canisius – for the first time in the Red Foxes history in the MAAC. Head coach Mike Maker becomes the first head coach to lead his team to a sweep of the Buffalo trip in his first try since Kevin Baggett did so at the end of the 2012-13 season. Dating back to 2012, Marist is 14-6 in the month of February and the one constant in that has been Chavaughn Lewis, who is coming off a career-high 35 point effort in the win over the Golden Griffins. Add a healthy and effective Khallid Hart and the Red Foxes should be dangerous. This week they host Niagara and follow that up with a trip to Iona, who they have yet to face this season.
Stock Down: Saint Peter’s – The only time the Peacocks have won back-to-back conference games this season was their first two January wins. They watched a four-point lead evaporate in the final eight seconds of regulation against Iona. Fighting aside, Saint Peter’s will enter a critical week starting on Saturday, as the Peacocks host Fairfield and then Siena on Monday. If they want to have any chance of breaking out of the league’s bottom six seeds, they must win their next two games.
All-Transfer Team: Whether it is the junior college transfer, graduate transfer or regular undergraduate transfer, these players have been a big reason why the MAAC has been so competitive this season. Below I compiled the five most impactful transfers, playing in their first year in the conference. The clear MVP so far has been 7′ center Matt Lopez, who has given Rider a dimension the Broncs lacked in Kevin Baggett’s first two seasons. The Utah State and La Salle transfer, in his final season with the Broncs, ranks 21st in the conference in scoring (11.9 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (7.2 rpg). Others considered: Teddy Okereafor, Rider (10.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg), Brice Kofane, Monmouth (6.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.0 bpg), Jamal Reynolds, Canisius (6.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Mike Kirkland, Fairfield (7.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg).
Look Out Below! Manhattan sophomore Jermaine Lawrence goes up high for this alley-oop in the second half against Monmouth.
Quote of the Week: “They made me look good on that T-shirt. They had me with a stache, and hair. I love stuff like that. I love to promote. I’ll do anything I can to help promote this program… Any time we can promote the program… I’ll stand at the top of the building if they want me to. I think it’s all good. I’m happy they came up with that idea.” – Canisius head coach Jim Baron on the school’s “Fear the Stache” T-Shirt promotion on Friday night.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.