A pair of prodigal sons will square off in tonight’s MAAC championship game. Siena’s Nico Clareth and Iona’s Deyshonee Much each took a leave of absence from their respective programs this season, but as Monday night rolls around, they will be among the players their teams turn to in the most crucial game of the year. Continue reading
Lavon Long did not see the court until Siena’s fourth game of the season, but it is the embattled senior who could make the difference in the Saints’ final games of the year. Continue reading
Sitting at 7-6 in MAAC play following a loss to Canisius in early February, the Siena Saints seemed destined for a middling finish. But the return of star sophomore Nico Clareth and an emphatic win over Iona in New Rochelle propelled the Saints to a 5-2 finish and into a third-place tie with the Gaels at 12-8 in the final standings. Continue reading
The Fairfield Stags pulled an inside straight on the final weekend of the regular season and beat out Canisius to earn the fifth and final first-round bye in this weekend’s conference tournament. Sydney Johnson’s crew made the trip to western New York trailing the Golden Griffins by one game with two left to play, but would have to win the bye outright as Canisius held the advantage in a tiebreaker. Continue reading
The MAAC announced all-league teams Monday afternoon with few surprises. Monmouth, which on Sunday became the first MAAC team to win 18 league games, placed two players on the First Team, including likely Player of the Year Justin Robinson. Saint Peter’s, Siena, Canisius, and Rider all saw multiple players receive all-league honors, with Iona and Quinnipiac receiving additional recognition on the all-Rookie team.
*denotes a unanimous selection
Justin Robinson – Monmouth*
Jordan Washington – Iona*
Tyler Nelson – Fairfield
Micah Seaborn – Monmouth
Quadir Welton – Saint Peter’s
Robinson, the leader of the Hawks and the league’s top scorer at 19.7 ppg, earned his third First Team selection and is the odds-on favorite to become the fourth MAAC player to repeat as Player of the Year this Friday. He would be the first to capture the award in consecutive seasons since Manhattan’s Luis Flores in 2003 and 2004. Teammate Micah Seaborn (13.5 ppg) also benefited from the Hawks’ impressive year, as the sophomore made the jump from Third Team a year ago to the top five this season.
Iona’s Jordan Washington joined Robinson as a unanimous selection with good reason. The senior forward established himself as the MAAC’s premier post player, ranking fourth in the league at 17.7 ppg and fifth with 7.5 rebounds per contest. Tyler Nelson led the way in Fairfield’s late push to capture a first-round bye, and was properly rewarded with a First Team spot. The junior ranks second in the league in scoring at 18.9 ppg and will enter next season as a favorite for Player of the Year honors. Quadir Welton rounds out the top five, and was the driving force behind Saint Peters’ run for the second spot in the league. The senior forward checks in at 11.8 ppg and 8.0 rpg, and helped the Peacocks become the league’s top defensive squad.
Kassius Robertson – Canisius
Khallid Hart – Marist
Trevis Wyche – Saint Peter’s
Brett Bisping – Siena
Marquis Wright – Siena
Saint Peter’s sees its second honoree in the form of point guard Trevis Wyche. The senior averaged 11.2 ppg and 3.8 assists per game while leading a surprisingly potent Peacocks offense which ranks fourth in Offensive Efficiency in league play according to KenPom.com. Marist senior Khallid Hart makes a repeat appearance on the Second Team after ranking third in the league with 18.0 ppg despite the Red Foxes’ disappointing season.
Kassius Robertson, who led the Golden Griffins and placed seventh in the league with 16.5 ppg, earned his first all-MAAC honor as a junior while Siena seniors Brett Bisping and Marquis Wright represent the Saints’ two all-league selections. Bisping nearly averaged a double-double with 12.2 ppg and 9.6 rpg while Wright solidified his role as Siena’s facilitator by averaging 4.9 apg and matched Robertson at 16.5 ppg.
Jermaine Crumpton – Canisius
Zane Waterman – Manhattan
Matt Scott – Niagara
Jimmie Taylor – Rider
Kahlil Thomas – Rider
Canisius’ second representative shows up on the Third Team in the form of Jermaine Crumpton. The junior helped lead the Golden Griffins’ early surge, and finished just behind teammate Robertson with 16.2 ppg but added an additional 4.9 rebounds per contest. Manhattan’s Zane Waterman became another to make his first appearance on an all-MAAC squad. With season averages of 14.5 ppg and 7.1 rpg along with three 20+ point performances to end the year, the honor is well-deserved despite the Jaspers’ last-place finish.
Niagara’s Matt Scott makes a return appearance on the Third Team after filling the stat sheet with 17.3 ppg (fifth in the league), 7.0 rpg, and 3.0 apg. For the second year in a row, Rider placed a pair on the final all-MAAC squad. Kahlil Thomas also repeats as a Third Team selection by nearly averaging a double-double with 14.1 ppg and 8.9 rpg, while Jimmie Taylor’s 15.7 ppg leads the Broncs, who closed the season on a three-game winning streak powered by an impressive offensive surge.
E.J. Crawford – Iona*
Mikey Dixon – Quinnipiac*
Peter Kiss – Quinnipiac*
Stevie Jordan – Rider*
Malik Johnson – Canisius
Quinnipiac’s duo of Mikey Dixon and Peter Kiss captured ten Rookie of the Week honors including the final eight of the year. Dixon (16.8 ppg) ranks sixth in the league in scoring and is on pace to break the all-divisions school scoring record of 16.7 set by Frank Berretta in 1979-80 at the Division II level, while Kiss (13.3 ppg) is on pace to break Rob Monroe’s Division I record of 13.0. Kentucky, St. John’s, and UCLA are the only schools in the nation to receive a higher combined scoring average from their top two freshmen.
Iona’s E.J. Crawford established himself as a valuable player on the wing of Iona’s high-powered offense and finished the season with 9.7 ppg while shooting 45% from behind the arc. The final two honorees displayed a penchant for sharing the ball: Stevie Jordan (11.5 ppg) leads the MAAC with 5.8 apg and became a critical piece of Kevin Baggett’s starting lineup amidst four seniors. Malik Johnson, recruited by former Canisius coach Jim Baron before his retirement, ranks fifth in the league with 4.2 assists per contest.
Vincent Simone covers the MAAC, Hofstra, and more for NYC Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.
It was a bit disquieting watching seemingly helpless Quinnipiac be destroyed on the boards Monday against Siena in an 84-75 loss, almost like an empire whose time had finally faded away. The Bobcats went 10 straight seasons among the top 10 offensive rebounding teams in the nation (nine of them in the top 5) leading into 2016-17, and was sixth on the defensive glass as late as two years ago.
Quinnipiac was renown as a rebounding capital of college basketball America, it led its media notes, it was their signature, their claim to fame. So a 52-27 rebounding advantage for an opponent that included 22 offensive boards (55.0%) was difficult to look at in the boxscore.
However, our dear numbers told us that Quinnipiac’s rebounding demise didn’t exactly start this evening. While they did lead the MAAC in offensive rebounding, it was barely (35.5 to 35.3%) ahead of Siena, and the Bobcats (8-14, 5-7) are a fairly dreadful 294th on the defensive boards (67.5%). The Saints are full of veterans, and Lavon Long (16 total rebounds), Brett Bisping (14 total), and Marquis Wright (yes, the point guard) had five offensive rebounds each in the contest.
At the midpoint of the MAAC season, it’s worth examining where each team in the league stands and where they might end up over the next six weeks. Here is a team-by-team analysis based on the current standings, along with mid-season all-MAAC teams: Continue reading
Just six weeks ago, Nico Clareth almost single-handedly buried Fairfield at the Times Union Center, leading a 27-4 first-half run, and then when the Stags had somewhat amazingly come all the way back to tie it, hit a few more big shots to make sure Siena held on 80-73.
In all, the talented Clareth finished with a career-high 33 points, and it seemed like both the sophomore who was a MAAC All-Rookie selection a year ago and the team had turned a corner after a tough start.
Then Siena lost six of its next seven games, and Clareth scored just 24 in the last three.
After that, Jimmy Patsos played him just 17 minutes against Saint Peter’s, but the Saints won. Then, he was in and out quickly against Quinnipiac and Siena won again. Soon after, Clareth decided to take a leave of absence from the team, just in time for the return game with Fairfield at Webster Bank Arena.
After a Tyler Nelson layup cut Siena’s lead to 9-8 over Fairfield in its MAAC opener Saturday night, the Saints showed what they are capable of in the next five minutes: Nico Clareth was drilling three-pointers, Marquis Wright was finding Javion Ogunyemi for dunks, Lavon Long slashed to the rim on the next possession, when the Stags played off Wright he hit a jumper.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Brett Bisping was getting steals and rebounds, Fairfield’s guards could not get anywhere near the paint against Wright and Long, and by the time everyone looked up, Siena led 27-8 and was well on its way to a comfortable victory.
Only five of the 16 players named to the All-MAAC teams at the end of last season will not make a return to the court. With plenty of young talent yet to reach their full potential, along with some fresh new faces by way of recruits and transfers, and there is sure to be a fight to secure those limited all-conference spots come March. Continue reading