Metro Atlantic Conference Notebook
by Stephen Dahl
Conference Player of the Week:
Keydran Clark: St. Peter’s Sophomore Forward.
Clark dropped 32 points in a loss to the Seton Hall Pirates, accounting for more than half of the Peacocks’ 61 points.
Canisius Golden Griffins (5-3, 0-1 MAAC)
The Golden Griffs may not be the poster team for the MAAC, but a 5-3 record isn’t something to be ashamed of. Canisius has picked up a win at St. Bonaventure and lost a heartbreaker in overtime to conference foe Niagara. They’re going to need the wins with the hard part of their schedule coming up. The Griffins play at Marquette on Monday and still have to play at Syracuse to finish out the year.
Fairfield Stags (4-1, 1-0 MAAC)
Fairfield has begun their season quite nicely, picking up a win over the anything but Red Storm of St. John’s as well as a convincing victory to open up their conference season against Marist. Part of the success comes from four of their starters averaging double figures. The Stags will need the scoring as they take on a sneaky good George Washington team at home on the 22nd. After that, they’ll spend a couple of days in Hawaii for the Rainbow Classic.
Iona Gaels (2-4, 1-1 MAAC)
Head Coach Jeff Ruland is not a happy man. The Gaels achieved their first conference win easily over Loyola (MD) and looked like they might break out of their funk. You guessed it, they’re still in the funk. Iona dropped two straight on the road, one to MAAC opponent Rider and the other to St. Bonaventure. Things are not going to get any easier for them either. They’ll continue their tour of the Atlantic 10 with games against Fordham and Rhode Island, as well as a date with UCONN on Dec. 20th.
Loyola-Md Greyhounds (0-8, 0-2 MAAC)
Hello Greyhounds, this is a win calling. I miss you, please acquire one of us soon. You almost had one of me against Mount St. Mary ‘s. In fact, you were mine for 35 minutes and 50 seconds, but the Mountaineers had so much more to offer. I mean, I gave you a 12 point lead on the game, but all you did was show me the back of your hand. Listen, I’ll give you one more chance before the end of 2003 to gain me against Princeton. If we don’t patch things up soon, I may have to take Head Coach Scott Hicks with me in the divorce.
Manhattan Jaspers (3-1, 1-0 MAAC)
The only thing cold so far about the Jaspers this year, was the recent appearance of Luis Flores and Head Coach Bobby Gonzalez on ESPN’s Cold Pizza (sorry that show has no place on any network and I wish that show on no one). Manhattan showed they are the class of the league with a 72-54 victory over Rider. So far the only slip up was against the Wichita State Shockers, but mark my words, Wichita State isn’t an easy team. The Jaspers will prepare for a rematch of their NCAA tournament first round matchup with reigning national champion Syracuse.
Marist Red Foxes (1-5, 1-1 MAAC)
The Red Foxes are enjoying the fact that Loyola is looking just a bit worse than them. If it weren’t for Brandon Ellerbee, they may not have earned a win against Siena. Ellerbee got an uncontested lay-up off of a rebound to give the Foxes the clinching two points in a 67-65 win. It hasn’t been pretty for Marist, losing both games in their own pre-season tournament. Next up for them are games with Northeastern and Vermont before a match-up in Atlanta with Georgia Tech, No. 11 team in the Hoopville top 25.
Niagara Purple Eagles (4-1, 2-0 MAAC)
This year’s motto for the men’s basketball team is, “You roar, we’ll soar.” The folks in Niagara must have some sore throats. After coming out of the gates with four wins, including two quick conference victories at Canisius and Siena, the Purple Eagles suffered a minor setback against the University at Buffalo on Saturday. The Bulls needed a buzzer beater to squeak by Niagara, 81-79. Despite the loss, those violet birds could finish the rest of 2003 undefeated with games against St. Bonaventure, Yale, Central Florida and Central Connecticut St. If they do, that roar may be heard a little further into the nation.
Rider Broncs (5-2, 1-1 MAAC)
Broncs fans love junior Jerry Johnson. Johnson, who is averaging 17 points in their first 7 games, is a big reason why Rider is 5-2. In his last game against Delaware, Johnson had 18 points and 7 assists for a 75-72 win over the Fighting Blue Hens. They’ll need the consistency of his play to get through the year. The Broncs will finish off the calendar year with four straight road games. They’ll take on Drexel and Harvard, before they take on in-state rivals, Farleigh Dickinson and Monmouth.
St. Peters Peacocks (4-2, 1-0 MAAC)
The Peacocks are in better shape than they and the league thought they would be in at this point. They’ve defeated, arguable Ivy league favorite, Yale, as well as registering a notch in the MAAC belt over Loyola (MD). St. Pete’s suffered a bloodbath at the hands of Seton Hall, 91-62. Even with the disappointing performance, the highlight of the team has been sophomore Keydren Clark. Clark, who averages 26 points a game, had 32 in the loss to Seton Hall.
Siena Saints (3-4, 0-2 MAAC)
So far the only thing that the Saints have won in the conference this year is my award for nicest website in the MAAC. Siena, who started the season 3-0 and is now in a four game losing streak, needs to find their rhythm quick. Despite the heartbreaker to Marist, their losses to Niagara and Toledo were anything but good losses. Next up for the Saints is Syracuse, who seemingly has applied for satellite membership of the MAAC. They’ll also have to deal with Providence before the year is out.