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Metro Atlantic Notebook

January 1, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments



Metro Atlantic Notebook

by Adam Shandler

Penn Takes Manhattan

The Jaspers were gunning for three straight Dreyfus Holiday Festival titles, but the Penn Quakers shattered that dream. One night after edging Holy Cross, 56-54, in round one, the Jaspers were steamrolled by a 25-2 run after compiling their own 13-2 run to start the game. Tim Begley led the run with eight points, including two 3s, and finished with 13 points.

Luis Flores, the tournament MVP two years running, had 20 in the loss but was held to just 9 points in the victory over Holy Cross. Still, Flores hit the game-winning jumper in that contest, with just 24 seconds left.

Stags Were Rainbow Brite…For A While

After plowing through Bowling Green and Pepperdine in the first two rounds of Hawaii’s Rainbow Classic, Fairfield got to test their mettle against the Rainbow Warriors in the championship game. The Stags gave Hawaii quite a scare, pushing the host school to overtime before falling 50-49.

Fairfield was up by as many as 10 in second half, but the Warriors jumped out to an 8-0 run to force OT. A Phil Martin layup tied up the game at 42 in regulation. After Hawaii’s Julian Sensley nailed a 3-pointer with 11 seconds to go in the extra session, the Stags’ Terrence Todd tried to beat the buzzer on a long jumper that clanged off the rim. Fairfield couldn’t hit a bucket in the last 3:11 of the game, and as a team shot a meager 31% from the floor. Hawaii wasn’t much better, hitting on 17-of-59 attempts for 29%.

Fairfield’s leading scorer and rebounder Deng Gai upheld his reputation with an impressive stat line of 17 points, 18 boards.

Up next for 7-2 Fairfield: Michigan at Madison Square Garden in the Dreyfus Big Saturday Classic on January 3.

Gaels Get Rammed

Iona got as close as 31-29, but the second half was all Rhode Island and the Rams sailed, 80-69, on December 28th. The Gaels put together bursts of runs to cut Rhody’s leads of 14 and 22 in each half, but the Rams built a 14-point lead with just under 10 minutes to go.

Sophomore guard Steve Burtt had career highs in points (24) and rebounds (8) to lead three other Gaels in double figures.

Iona coach Jeff Ruland stated, “We might have had our best full-game effort of the season today, and while we came up short on the score, I take alot of good things out of the game. We’re starting to come together as a team and in a week or so, we start our conference play. If we can give a 40-minute effort like this the rest of the way, with a few tweaks to the lineup due to injury, I think our team will be OK.”

Kiki Keeps Cooking: Keydren “KiKi” Clark, the second-highest scorer in D-I hoops at 26.4 ppg, keeps lighting it up. In a recent loss to Hofstra, Clark scorched the nets for 28 second half points and seven 3-pointers to finish with 38 total points. His 38 were the most by a Hofstra opponent at the Pride’s home arena. All this while battling a bad case of the flu that was supposed to keep him out of the lineup.

KiKi is coming off one of his less impressive performances (relatively speaking, of course). His 17 points were not enough to bring down Birmingham Southern in a 75-59 loss in the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic in California on December 29th.

More Loyola Losses

New season, same result. The Loyola Greyhounds have yet to win a game this year and were recently devoured by Princeton on December 29, 74-54. Low-lighting Loyola’s 0-9 mark are losses to local rivals Coppin State, UMBC (both in the Battle of Baltimore), Mt. St. Mary’s and Towson, and fellow MAACers Iona and St. Peter’s. Before their MAAC schedule goes full-tilt on January 7 against Rider, the Hounds will vie for non-league wins against Navy (January 3 in Annapolis) and Central Connecticut (at the Reitz Center on January 5).

Canisius Teams Honored

The Golden Griffs may have lost to Detroit, but the Koessler Athletic Center summoned the spirits of Canisius teams past. As part of its 100-year celebration of men’s basketball, the Canisius program honored 19 members of its NCAA tournament teams from 1955, ’56 and ’57 on Saturday December 20th. The 1955 and 56 teams each came within a game of the Final Four, and the 1956 team stunned the basketball community with their four-overtime upset of NC State. That game was the longest in NCAA Tournament as well as Madison Square Garden history. The man who drained the buzzer beater, Fran Corcoran, was on hand for the ceremony.

The 2003-04 Golden Griffins came up short, 77-74, against the Titans, despite a late second-half comeback. Canisius was down by as many as 15 with 6:44 to go.

Resked

The Manhattan-Fairfield game, which was to be played on December 5th at the Arena at Harbor Yard, has been rescheduled for January 21st at 7:30 PM ET. A snowstorm that blanketed the entire Northeast is the cause of the postponement.

Those who have a ticket marked for the December 5th game will be granted admission for the January 21st game, or should the ticket holder have a conflict, the ticket can be exchanged for any Fairfield home game at the Yard. However, the exchange must be done prior to January 21st.

The Jaspers and Stags will now have their first meeting on January 18 in Riverdale.

Garden Party for Three MAAC Teams

On January 3rd, three Metro Atlantic teams will partake in the Dreyfus Big Saturday at Madison Square Garden, a non-tournament triple-header. In game one, to be played at 2:30 PM ET, Marist will cross swords with Holy Cross, which just wrapped up play in the Holiday Festival in the same venue on December 29. The Crusaders came in fourth.

At 4 PM, it’s Fairfield taking on Michigan team that is coming off a puzzling loss to Boston U. The Wolverines are 8-2 as of this writing.

In the finale at 7, Niagara challenges St. John’s on their home turf, where the Red Storm hasn’t fared so well of late. The Johnnies fell to Penn in the Holiday Festival and barely squeaked by Holy Cross for third place in the tournament.

The first game of the day, at noon, has Quinnipiac squaring off with St. Francis of New York.

     

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