We are just about halfway through MAAC play and the top and bottom of the league are starting to separate from each other. The rest? It’s still to be determined.
Here are the numbers that made the last week:
66% – The percentage Siena shot from the field on Sunday afternoon at Canisius, which is the best shooting percentage since the Saints joined the conference in 1989. They topped Iona’s performance in their 101-66 win over Marist on Dec. 4. Siena scored 99 points on 70 possessions (1.40), which is their best output in the history of KenPom era stats, which date back to the 2001-02 season.
100% – Siena junior Lavon Long became the first player to make at least seven field goals and all his free throws since Clyde McCully did so for Chattanooga on Dec. 29, 2001.
— Siena Saints (@SienaSaints) January 24, 2016
55.0% – The effective field goal percentage defense of Canisius, the worst in the conference. On a related note, they rank 336th in defensive efficiency. Much of this was on display in Siena’s throttling of the Golden Griffins at home, to which graduate transfer Malcolm McMillan said, “They ran us out of our own gym today.”
8.7 – That’s the number of rebounds Rider junior Khalil Thomas has pulled down so far this season, leading the MAAC in that category. He took advice from Providence head coach Ed Cooley to heart after their 73-65 loss on Dec. 19. “Just be a beast,” Thomas said according to The Trentonian. “That was the main thing. Just be a beast out there. Keep playing hard.” That total so far is more than double his 3.9 rpg last season.
While Thomas isn’t in this next group, he might be close by the end of the year. As we’re almost halfway through conference play, let’s take a look at the First Half All-MAAC Team:
Also considered: Marist junior Khallid Hart, Iona junior Jordan Washington and Manhattan senior Shane Richards.
Here’s a look at the early All-Rookie Team:
|Antwon Portley||Saint Peter’s|
Tweets of the Week:
First one is brought to you buy the weekend’s snowstorm, which postponed the matchup between Saint Peter’s and Manhattan.
— A Daly Dose Of Hoops (@DalyDoseOfHoops) January 26, 2016
— Emile Blackman Jr. (@Milli_black) January 23, 2016
John Dunne won't say it, but controversial offseason signing of Ronnie has been massive for Saint Peter's.
— Ray Curren (@currenrr) January 20, 2016
Quotes of the Week:
“I had to make a statement because I haven’t had a lot of good games against them in my career. This was my last game with them, and I wanted to go out with a bang.” – Fairfield senior Marcus Gilbert on his 32 point, 10 rebound, 4 assist game in the Stags’ win over Iona
“He’s been playing at an all-MAAC level lately, he really has. The great thing about Trevis is he’s happy to come off the bench and he’d be just as happy with 12 assists and no points, that’s just the kind of kid he is.” – Saint Peter’s head coach John Dunne on junior Trevis Wyche’s 20-point performance in their win over Fairfield
“My girlfriend, for three months all she’s been saying is, ‘How are you gonna stop Justin Robinson? How are you gonna stop Justin Robinson?’ and I’m like ‘Are you a Monmouth fan?'” – Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello after their 78-71 victory over the Hawks where they held the junior to 11 points
“I knew they were going to jump the ball, so they were going to leave me at some point. Ray [Stores] just did a great job. He dribbled the ball for the whole possession, around everybody. He just found me late, and I was just able to knock it down.” – Manhattan freshman Tom Capuano on his shot that sealed the victory for the Jaspers over the Hawks
“We have a lot of things that are broken right now. Again, we bring Wash(ington) back and he looked like he hadn’t played in two weeks. I know we scored a lot, but defensively he gave up as much as he scored. It’s not OK to do it on one end. Unfortunately, right now, with having so many guys out at so many different times with injuries and all that has been tough.” – Iona head coach Tim Cluess on his team dropping to 7-3 in the MAAC with a loss at Fairfield
“It kind of came natural in the game just learning and just playing, but a lot of it is just having confidence. I’m having confidence in myself, but I know guys on the team have confidence in me and I know most out of all I know the coaching staff has confidence in me being able to try and make the right decision. I have to be smart about it.” – Saint Peter’s freshman Antwon Portley on adjusting to playing with the ball in his hands with the Peacocks
“If Justin Robinson didn’t say those things, I’d be disappointed. We were saying those things three years ago. That’s what he should be saying. I think we sometimes punish people for saying what they really want. He wants to win a MAAC championship. He wants to win at Draddy. I have no issue with that.” – Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello on Robinson’s comments in the offseason that he wanted to win at Draddy Gymnasium
Games to Watch: Tuesday Jan. 26 Siena at Niagara 7pm, Thursday Jan. 28 Monmouth at Quinnipiac 7:30pm, Friday Jan. 29 Manhattan at Iona 7pm ESPNU, Canisius at Fairfield 7pm ESPN3, Sat. Jan. 30 Saint Peter’s at Monmouth 7pm ESPN3, Monday Feb. 1 Iona at Saint Peter’s 7pm, Monmouth at Siena 7pm
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.