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Metro Atlantic Second Round Recap

March 11, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

Metro Atlantic Second Round Recap

Recap by Jesse Ullmann

(4) Saint Peters Peacocks 79, (5) Rider Broncs 69 (OT)
Postseason play in the Metro Atlantic continued yesterday with second round action at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, New York. It was, however, a clash of Garden State rivals barely separated by the Jersey Turnpike, taking center stage as St. Peters and Rider clashed.

Tied at 64-64, the Broncs Armel Minyem’s shot as time expired in the second half looked to be the end of St. Peters missed, and in overtime Peacocks sophomore guard Keydren Clark scored eight of his 22 points to seal a 79-69 victory, and an appearance in today’s semifinal game versus top seeded Manhattan.

Rider kept it close with 22 points coming from junior guard Jerry Johnson and 17 from sophomore forward Ed Muniz. St. Peters led Rider for the first 30 minutes but went cold in the second half and with 10:27 to play the Broncs took their first lead at 55-54 on sophomore forward Paul Johnson’s drive to the basket. A neck and neck battle ensued, eventually forcing overtime where Rider had no answer for the Peacocks First Team All-MAAC selection Clark.

(2) Niagara Purple Eagles 106, (7) Iona Gaels 92 (OT)
Iona was on the verge of a major upset but self-destructed and Niagara pulled out a 106-92 victory in overtime placing the Purple Eagles in a semifinal showdown against the No. Six seed Siena Saints.

With 6:38 left Iona held a 70-59 advantage and looked poised, scoring on nearly every touch. Niagara senior Tremmel Darden scored 21 points before fouling out with three minutes to play in regulation, watching on from the sideline with a sense of urgency as his college career nearly came to an end.

Junior forward Juan Mendez was there to save the day though grabbing 16 rebounds and scoring 27 points including a huge basket plus the foul with 53.1 remaining to get Niagara within two, 88-86.

The biggest shot of the game came seconds later from freshman guard Lorenzo Miles who nailed a three with 36 seconds remaining, knotting the score at 89-89.

Sophomore guard Ricky Soliver scored a career high 31 points including 15 of 17 from the free throw line and sophomore guard Steve Burtt added 24 but the Gaels were only able to convert on one field goal in overtime while Niagara pulled ahead on an 8-0 run.

The 106 points scored by the Purple Eagles matches the MAAC tournament record set by LaSalle back in 1990. The 198 points scored by both teams combined is a tournament record. Iona ends their season with an 11-18 overall record.

(6) Siena Saints 66, (3) Fairfield Stags 63
Fairfield sophomore guard Michael Bell had a good look at the basket and put up a three-point shot as time expired but fell short and so did the Stags losing to Siena 66-63. The Saints will take on the No. Two seed Niagara tonight.

Fairfield had control throughout the first half but played lousy defense as Siena went on a mini-run heading into halftime with an eight point Stags advantage. The Saints would open up the second half on back-to-back Tommy Mitchell three-point baskets to get the hometown crowd back into the game.

With 14:08 to play sophomore forward Michael Haddix sank a pair of free throws giving Siena its first lead, 38-37. Sophomore guard Antoine Jordan made three of his 10 points from the charity stripe in the final 20 seconds to seal the win.

Haddix, a Second Team All-MAAC selection finished with eight rebounds and five blocks though it was junior guard Tommy Mitchell stealing the show, coming off the bench to drop in 19 points along with three steals, three rebounds and a pair of assists. The hometown team Siena outscored Fairfield’s bench by 25 points.

Meanwhile Fairfield senior center Rob Thomson ends his collegiate career with a team-high 18 points. Thomson is a First Team All-MAAC selection.

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