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Metro Atlantic Second Round Preview

March 11, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




Metro Atlantic Second Round Preview

Preview by Jesse Ullmann

(4) Saint Peters Peacocks v. (5) Rider Broncs
Last year St. Peters upset Rider in overtime in the first round during the 2003 MAAC tournament. The Peacocks sensational guard Keydren Clark (NY, NY) played huge, as a freshman, and in 2004 continues his dominance over MAAC foes.

Clark, the nations leading scorer averaging exactly 27 points per game, is joined in the backcourt by freshman Shane Nichols (Radford, VA), who yesterday was honored as MAAC Rookie of the Year.

Rider has dropped both meetings in 2003, one in overtime, to St. Peters, who receives a bye to today’s second round action. With all the ingredients for a serious battle, Rider will be looking for redemption. Both Clark and Broncs junior guard Jerry Johnson (Lancaster, PA) are First Team All-MAAC selections and if you enjoy watching backcourt basketball, this will be right up your alley.

(2) Niagara Purple Eagles v. (7) Iona Gaels
From Day One, since picking Niagara as the team to take it all, I have had my doubts. Nevertheless, they finished the season 13-5, 19-8 overall with a four game win streak and will have their first test today against a streaking Iona team, who has also reeled off four straight wins including a 68-66 nail biter yesterday in first round MAAC tournament action.

Niagara’s First Team All-MAAC selection junior Juan Mendez (Montreal) will battle down low with Iona’s senior center Greg Jenkins (Mt. Vernon, NY) in what promises to be a thundering clash. Mendez is averaging 20.5 ppg, 8.5 rebounds per game, and has 41 blocked shots this season. Mendez is one of four starters averaging double figures in scoring for Niagara and is followed by, arguably the most versatile player in the league, senior guard Tremmel Darden (Las Vegas).

In both meetings this season against the Gaels, Niagara was victorious by an average victory of 12 points. Iona will look for redemption after being knocked out last year by Niagara in the second round of the 2003 MAAC tournament.

(3) Fairfield Stags v. (6) Siena Saints
Minus star center Deng Gai (Sudan) and leading scorer Terrence Todd (Neptune, NJ), Fairfield had tremendous success in the latter part of the 2004 campaign. Head coach Tim O’Toole, shadowed throughout the season by allegations of giving players “gifts” was deemed MAAC Coach of the Year. 5′-5″ junior guard Ty Goode (Brooklyn, NY) was named MAAC Defensive Player of the Year while Senior center Rob Thomson (Hellertown, PA), stepping in for an absent Deng Gai, was a First Team All-MAAC selection.

Meanwhile, Siena is playing on their home court and never let up yesterday in a first round match against Marist. Freshman guard Mike Beers (Broadalbin, NY) is a killer off the bench and sophomore forward Michael Haddix (Philadelphia) is a Second Team All-MAAC selection averaging 15.7 ppg on 48.6 percent shooting.

Senior guard Jamal Jackson (Newark, NJ) is consistent running the point for the Saints and, with the return of sophomore guard Antoine Jordan (Philadelphia) from an ankle injury, the backcourt will be a threat to Fairfield’s defense.

An unpredictable contest, this game could absolutely go either way.

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