Iona (5-4) – 74-70 W @ NJIT (12/9); 83-67 W vs. Yale (12/12)
The Gaels are riding a four game winning streak into their first winning record of the year and the top spot in this week’s Power Rankings. Iona has played just two non-conference games and won them both, including a convincing victory over Yale Tuesday night.
Sophomore E.J. Crawford posted a career-high 24 points in the win over after pouring in 19 in the win over NJIT. Crawford is shooting 64% from the field and 5-9 from 3-point range over his last two games and has become a real go-to option on the wing this season.
Senior Deyshonee Much has also enjoyed recent success reaching double figures in both games this week, but the most encouraging sign for the Gaels may be freshman C.J. Seaforth scoring in consecutive games after being a complete non-factor through the team’s first seven. Seaforth connected on two triples and played 17 minutes in the win over Yale.
The Gaels play their next five on the road including a showdown this Sunday with St. John’s in Madison Square Garden. Tim Cluess’ squad closes out the non-conference with trips to Holy Cross and Rhode Island later in the month before starting MAAC play with the Buffalo Trip to close December.
Niagara (4-6) – 93-87 OT L vs. St. Francis PA (12/10)
The Purple Eagles finally got a major third-party contribution from Dominic Robb, who turned in 17 points with nine rebounds and six blocked shots against St. Francis (PA). Robb led the MAAC with 2.2 blocks per game last season, but entered this week with just four blocks all season. Robb also tallied 40 minutes in the game, blowing by his previous season high of 26.
Matt Scott and Kahlil Dukes continue to be 1-2 in the MAAC Player of the Year race. Scott put up 22 points against the Red Flash and has scored 20+ in each of his last eight games. Remarkably, Scott’s lowest output this season was 17 points in the team’s second game at Minnesota.
Dukes converted his first double-double as a Purple Eagle with a career-high 11 assists against zero turnovers in the loss. His 25 points gave Dukes his eighth game of 20+ points this season.
Niagara’s effective field goal percentage defense (57.5%) ranks among the bottom 30 in the nation, but have one of the best offensive turnover percentages (13.7%) in the nation, largely due to Dukes who has just 18 turnovers all season as the team’s primary point guard.
Monmouth (3-8) – 85-84 L vs Hofstra (12/6); 93-76 L (n) vs #8 Kentucky (12/9); 69-58 L @ Princeton (12/12)
Monmouth is currently on a four game slide, but it took a miraculous play to keep that losing streak alive. The Hawks led Hofstra by 14 in the second half and despite a furious comeback from the Pride, forced a pair of Hofstra turnovers and led by five with 24 seconds remaining. However, a missed free throw and tip out to Jalen Ray for three buried the Hawks in the waning seconds, landing Monmouth on the wrong end of SportsCenter’s Top Play of the night.
Earlier in the game, Micah Seaborn became the fourth-fastest Monmouth player to reach the 1,000 point threshold. The junior shot 9-13 in the game, ending with 23.
Although overmatched by Kentucky at Madison Square Garden, the Hawks outscored the Wildcats 45-39 in the second half and converted 20 assists on 26 made field goals against Kentucky’s superior size & length.
Freshman Deion Hammond has led the team in scoring each of the last two games, with 19 against Kentucky and 17 at Princeton. Monmouth struggled with turnovers, committing 20 against just seven assists against the Tigers, but were within two points with 2:50 remaining in the game before Princeton closed on a 9-0 run.
Saint Peter’s (4-5) – 76-74 W vs. Houston Baptist (12/6); 84-61 L @ #15 Seton Hall (12/12)
The Peacocks are known for slowing the game down, and they now own the third slowest tempo in the nation (63.5 possessions per game) behind only Virginia and Northern Iowa.
John Dunne’s team shot 50% from the field for the second time this season in its win over Houston Baptist. Nick Griffin turned in his third 20+ point game of the season as he connected on four of six from downtown while junior Davauhnte Turner has reached double figures in each of his last four games. Turner turned in 14 points along with six assists against Houston Baptist.
The Peacocks have been searching for a steady secondary option behind Griffin, who averages 17.1 ppg this season. Turner has now raised his average to 10.7 and looks to have filled that role going forward.
Saint Peter’s ranks among the top 50 nationally allowing opposing teams to shoot just 30.6% from 3-point range, and although overmatched at #15 Seton Hall, the Pirates were held to just 31.3% from long range.
Rider (5-5) – 78-75 L @ Robert Morris (12/6); 88-82 L vs. Hofstra (12/9)
The Broncs have lost four straight after a promising 5-1 start to the season. Kevin Baggett’s team led Robert Morris by eight early in the second stanza, but fell late in a game which they played without star point guard Stevie Jordan, who suffered an injury in the final minutes of their previous game at Drexel.
Jordan returned to post 19 points, six steals, and five assists against Hofstra, but the Broncs had twice as many turnovers (22) as assists (11) and shot just 11-25 from the charity stripe against the Pride, all a recipe for disaster.
Rider plays at one of the hottest tempos in the nation (75.6 possessions per game according to KenPom), but have struggled from the free throw line all year. They are shooting just 65% as a team from the charity stripe this season and outside of their narrow loss at Providence in which they made 17 of 18, have shot over 70% from the line just twice this season.
Manhattan (4-5) – 80-66 W vs. Morgan State (12/9)
Rich Williams returned to the lineup this week to post 16 points on 7-13 shooting with a career-high eight assists in the Jaspers’ win over Morgan State. Williams did not make Manhattan’s trip to Belfast last week due to personal reasons.
The Jaspers remain one of the nation’s worst teams in offensive turnover percentage (25.2%) but have jumped into the top forty on the defensive side of the ball. Manhattan put this on display in the win over Morgan State, committing 18 turnovers, but forcing the same amount. Ball movement was also key, as the Jaspers collected 21 assists in the win.
Freshman Patrick Strzala broke out with a season-high nine points on 3-5 shooting behind the arc. Manhattan has been begging for another outside scorer, so the freshman could potentially grow into a pivotal role for the team as the season wears on.
Fairfield (4-5) – 88-66 L @ Houston (12/6); 76-72 W @ LIU Brooklyn (12/10)
Tyler Nelson poured in 17 points in each of the Stags’ games this week, but the senior inexplicably continues to struggle from long range. Nelson hit on just two of eight attempts beyond the arc at Houston, and shot 1-6 from deep at LIU Brooklyn.
This season, Nelson is shooting just 39% from the field and 26% from downtown. Despite his struggles, Nelson continues to see a high volume of shots and currently sits third in the MAAC with 19.3 ppg, trailing only Niagara’s dynamic duo.
Of note: Fairfield met Houston once before, resulting in a 108-76 Houston win in January 1969.
The Stags have been on the road for a while, and will surely appreciate a return home. The win at LIU Brooklyn ended a seven game road swing. Fairfield last played a home game November 14th, and it will have been over a month since the Stags hosted a team when they take on Old Dominion this Sunday.
Canisius (4-6) – 73-65 L vs. St. Bonaventure (12/6); 65-58 L @ Evansville (12/9)
Canisius is among the top five teams in the nation converting inside the arc (60.7%), but continue to be held back by an offensive turnovers percentage (23.9%) that ranks among the nation’s worst.
Isaiah Reese continued his strong sophomore campaign by matching a personal best with five made 3-pointers en route to a career-high 31 points in the loss to St. Bonaventure. Reese is shooting 43% from beyond the arc and has more than doubled his scoring average from 7.1 ppg last season to 16.5 ppg this year.
The Griffs were held back by 19 turnovers against the Bonnies, but did post 14 dimes against 12 giveaways in the win over Evansville. The Purple Aces are the nation’s best 3-point shooting team (46.8%), but Canisius was able to hold them to 1-7 from behind the arc.
Quinnipiac (3-7) – 77-75 L @ Hartford (12/17)
A long season may have just gotten even longer with news senior Chaise Daniels has taken a leave of absence from the team. Daniels picked up a technical foul and was pulled early in the loss at Hartford, visibly unhappy on the bench.
In his absence, junior Abdulai Bundu will be leaned on as an undersized option at the 5. Bundu turned in a season-high 13 points at Hartford, and his 26 minutes were the most since playing 29 at Maine December 18, 2016.
Daniels had been heavily used as the team’s top returner from last season, taking part in 32.2% of the team’s possessions, ranking 27th nationally according to KenPom.com.
On the bright side, Cam Young notched a career-high 27 against the Hawks, his third 20+ point game of the season. Young also nabbed 10 caroms to complete his second double-double of the year.
Siena (2-8) – 86-60 L @ Louisville (12/6); 74-69 L vs. Albany (12/9); 81-57 L @ Vermont (12/11)
The Saints trailed by just three at halftime at Louisville, but the Cardinals outscored Siena 47-24 in the second half to run away with the victory. Siena used a 10-0 run to lead by four with 6:49 remaining in the first half, but that was the high point of the night.
Sophomore Sammy Friday came through with his first career double-double on career highs of 15 points and 15 rebounds against the Cardinals, but couldn’t carry that momentum forward. Friday was held to seven points against Albany and went scoreless at Vermont while nabbing a combined five boards.
In their local rivalry game against the Great Danes, sophomore Ahsante Shivers knocked two of his career-high four 3-pointers to give Siena the 65-63 lead with 4:14 remaining, but Albany closed on an 11-2 run before Khalil Richard hit a layup at the buzzer.
Shivers was again one of the lone bright spots in the Saints’ listless loss at Vermont. The Catamounts opened the game on a 10-0 run and never looked back. Six Vermont players reached double figures while Shivers (17) and Nico Clareth (16) were the only ones to do so for Siena.
Siena caps a daunting non-conference schedule with trips to Bryant and Memphis before playing host to Holy Cross later in the month.
Marist (2-8) – 78-76 W vs. Colgate (12/6); 79-76 L vs. Stetson (12/9)
Marist pulled out its second win of the season due to some late-game dramatics. The Red Foxes led by the final margin with six-tenths of a second remaining with possession of the ball. Colgate intercepted the inbounds pass and appeared to knocks down a dramatic last-season shot to win the game, but the basket was reviewed and waved off, giving Marist the win.
Sophomore Tobias Sjoberg posted a career-high 14 points in the win and has now scored double figures in consecutive games after dropping 10 points along with his first career double-double with a career-high 11 rebounds against Stetson.
Of note: junior Kristinn Palsson has left the team and returned to his native Iceland due to deaths in his family. Palsson had a strong freshman campaign with 8.7 ppg and 4.4 rpg in 2015-16, but had been averaging just 2.8 ppg and 2.6 rpg this season.
Vincent Simone covers the MAAC, Hofstra, and more for NYC Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.