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MAAC Notebook

March 1, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Metro Atlantic Notebook

by Adam Shandler

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue…

For the third time this season, Manhattan will face local conference rival Iona, and the two teams will square off on a neutral court. This Sunday, March 2, the Jaspers and Gaels will take to the Madison Square Garden floor for what will be the final regular season game for both clubs. This is actually the second time Iona and Manhattan will be clashing on the MSG hardwood this season. In December, the two MAAC powers squared off in the MSG Holiday Festival Final, where Manhattan captured a 68-63 win. But it was a good weekend for both clubs, as the Jaspers defeated St. John’s, and Iona surprised North Carolina, then a ranked team.

In meeting number two, on February 16, the Gaels pulled out an 80-77 overtime triumph over Manhattan at the Mulcahy Center. With the MAAC tourney coming up, there is a good chance that these two rivals will re-ignite their love-hate relationship again this season.

It’s Getting Interesting

While Bobby Gonzalez’s club does hold a two-game edge over Iona, a loss to the Gaels might push Manhattan out of first place. Fairfield, in second place in the MAAC by only one game, faces last-place, 1-16 Loyola. Iona is coming off a Thursday victory over Loyola while Manhattan lost to Siena. Fairfield slid by St. Peter’s on Wednesday.

The top 5 teams are only separated by one game, with two teams, Iona and Siena, locked in a tie for third.

The District…Not Starring That Guy From ‘Coach’

The National Association of Basketball Coaches has named five MAAC players to all-district teams this week, making them eligible for All-America teams at the conclusion of the NCAA men’s hoops seasons. Manhattan junior guard Luis Flores, fifth in the country in scoring at 25 ppg, was named to the first team, all-District 2. Flores joins the company of Syracuse’s Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Hatten of St. John’s, Marquez Green of St. Bonaventure and Wagner’s Jermaine Hall on that squad.

On the District 2 second team are MAACers Prosper Karangwa of Siena and Brian Dux of Canisius. Fairfield’s Deng Gai was honored with a second-team nod for District 1, and freshman point guard sensation Keydren Clark of St. Peter’s made the District 3 second team.

More Awards

Gai and Clark will have to make a little more room on their moms’ fridges. They were both honored last week with awards from the MAAC. Fairfield’s Deng Gai took home the conference Player of the Week Award after averaging 13 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6 blocks in wins against Manhattan and Marist.

Keydren Clark of St. Peter’s shares Rooke of the Week honors with Kevin Downey of Canisius. Clark’s 24 points in a win over Marist put him at 534, good for ninth on the all-time SPC scoring list. Downey overcame the loss of his father to cancer last week to average 14.5 points, 4.5 steals, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists and shoot fifty percent over two games.

League Leaders

Luis Flores of Manhattan, whose tale of going from the Bronx to Rutgers and back to the Bronx was written up in Sports Illustrated last week, is tops in the MAAC in scoring at a 24.8 clip. Rookie Keydren Clark of St. Peter’s, who began the season fifth in the country in scoring, is hot on Flores’s heels at 24.5.

Two Purple Eagles command the rebounding leaders list: Niagara’s Juan Mendes and James Reaves, at 8.6 and 7.9 respectively. Another Niagaran, guard Alvin Cruz is a MAAC-best 5.84 in assists.

There is none better in the Metro Atlantic than Brian Dux when it comes to free throw percentage. He hits 91.3 percent from the line, while Luis Flores is just a few ticks worse at 91.1.

Canisius’s Hidori Mallory lead the league in steals at 1.96 per game.


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