Around The MAAC: Siena Winless in Orlando, Niagara Wins Three

Ari KramerSenior Analyst IINovember 30, 2008

In what was a puzzling week, the MAAC won nine of its 20 games.

Cinderella-favorite Siena (2-3), who was expected to do some damage in the Old Spice Classic, left Orlando with losses to No. 12 Tennessee, Wichita State, and Oklahoma State.

Fran McCaffery's Saints were able to compete with the Vols at points in the game, but turned the ball over 18 times and shot 1-15 from behind the arc. The final score was 78-64, but Siena was definitely capable of playing a tighter game.

The loss to Wichita State was only by two, 72-70. Most of the announcers on ESPN talked about Wichita State being the only team in the tournament that would not advance to the NCAA Tournament because they are currently in a rebuilding process. However, eight-point losses to No. 21 Georgetown and No. 5 Michigan State, and a two-point win against Siena may make the announcers repudiate their words.

Today, in the last place game, Siena trailed the Cowboys by 13 points at the half but cut the lead to four late in the second half. Unfortunately, Oklahoma State was strong enough to hold their lead and beat the Saints, 77-68.

Last week's Player of the Week, Kenny Hasbrouck, only averaged 12 points per game. Edwin Ubiles led the Saints in scoring this week with 14.3 points per game.

Siena should not panic even though McCaffery set the bar high for his team. If they walked away from this tournament with these three losses last year, analysts would be putting the Saints on the radar. The losses only look bad because of the high expectations that everyone has of this Siena team. If they stumble against Loyola Md. or Albany this week, then Saints' fans should be concerned.

After nearly pulling off an upset of Wisconsin in the Paradise Jam, Iona (2-3) was beaten by Southern Mississippi, 64-63. It sounded like the Gaels, who were outrebounded 29-22, had a couple of opportunities late in the game, but were unable to convert.

In their return to New Rochelle on Saturday, Iona lost to Robert Morris, 70-62.

Gary Springer was the only consistent Gael this week. He had 12 points and eight rebounds against the Golden Eagles and 17 points and six rebounds against the Colonials.

Manhattan (3-2) suffered two very disappointing losses this week. The first came by two at Saint Francis NY and the second by four at home against Hofstra.

Senior Devon Austin and sophomore Chris Smith must have warmed up in the North Pole because they shot a combined 13-51 from the field.

Considering that Manhattan only lost by an average of three points, there had to be other aspects of their game that were executed. However, the Jaspers need Austin and Smith to shoot like they did in the three wins this season.

Austin scored his 1,000th career point as a Jasper last night.

Manhattan's main problem has been finishing near the basket. They missed multiple shots from point-blank range in the two games and would have won by a comfortable margin if they could have converted.

Loyola Md. (2-5) made history this week. They became the first team to hold Stephen Curry scoreless; however, they walked away at the bottom of a 78-48 rout at Davidson. The loss to the Wildcats was the first of two losses this week, and the Greyhounds are now three games under .500.

Providence-transfer Jamal Barney led the Greyhounds to their only win with 23 points against James Madison.

Marquis Sullivan hit a total of 12 threes in 19 attempts.

Canisius (2-3) lost 67-41 at Washington State, but was able to walk away with a 68-66 victory against St. Bonaventure.

Five Golden Griffins scored in double-digits in the win, led by Frank Turner's 15. Chris Gadley scored 13 points in both games and pulled down eight rebounds in the victory.

Canisius will run into trouble against large teams. They were outrebounded 41-23 at Washington State and 45-31 against the Bonnies.

Saint Peter's (1-4) picked up a 69-59 win against Long Island but fell 21 points short of Rutgers. Nick Leon averaged 19 points and was the Peacocks' best player over the course of these two games.

The Peacocks were 16-60 from the field and were outrebounded 44-22 at Rutgers.

Rider's sole game this week was the return game of last year's Bracketbuster. Cal State Northridge traveled to Lawrenceville, New Jersey to lose 85-72 to the Broncs (3-1).

The only blemish on Rider's team game was their 6-24 shooting from beyond the arc. Other than that, the Broncs shot 43.8 percent from the floor, 23-28 from the charity stripe, outrebounded the Matadors 44-34, and only committed 16 fouls.

Ryan Thompson led the charge with 25 points and nine rebounds. He is now averaging 19.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

Harris Mansell, Mike Ringgold, and Novar Gadson all reached double-figures in the win.

The Broncs look to improve to 5-1 against Rutgers and Manhattan this week—both games are at home.

Marist (2-3) squeaked by New Hampshire in a 63-61 victory. Ryan Schneider's three foul shots with 12 seconds left were enough to beat the Wildcats. David Devezin scored 19 points and Lawrence Williams had 15 points and eight rebounds. Schneider corralled a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Red Foxes travel to Memphis for a game on Tuesday night.

After a rigorous four-game schedule last week, Fairfield (3-3) only played one game this week. The Stags were able to hold off Garrison Carr and American University, 82-73.

Jonathan Han led the Stags with 20 points on 3-5 three-point shooting. Warren Edney had 15 points and Herbie Allen had 13. Anthony Johnson grabbed 10 rebounds.

Fairfield's 61.1 percent three-point shooting helped secure the victory.


Team of the Week

Niagara (5-1) beat Buffalo, Monmouth, and Hartford by an average of 22 points per game.

The Purple Eagles have three players who can lead the team in scoring on any given night. Tyrone Lewis scored 23 points in a 65-61 win at Buffalo, Rob Garrison scored 18 points in a 71-48 win at Monmouth, and Bilal Benn scored 18 points in a 103-63 rout against Hartford Hartford—Garrison actually led the team with 19 points against Hartford.

Niagara's only loss was at No. 22 Villanova last Wednesday. They face a test in Akron this week.


Player of the Week

This week did not feature any consistently outstanding performances from any player, so the award goes to Ryan Thompson of Rider.

Thompson only played one game this week, but he scored 25 points on 9-17 shooting, had nine rebounds, three steals, and two threes.