Around the MAAC: Fairfield Stays Hot, Niagara Upsets South Florida

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IIDecember 16, 2008

My apologies for missing last week's weekly review and for being a day late on this week's edition. However, Around the MAAC Weekly Review has returned.

Starting from worst (in the standings) to first, Loyola (3-7) only played one game this week. 

The Greyhounds played host to a lowly Coppin State team and barely walked away with the victory. Loyola trailed by 11 at the half, came back and took a five-point lead with two minutes left, but then allowed the Eagles to recapture the lead at 70-69 with a minute remaining.

Jamal Barney and Brett Harvey combined to hit four straight foul shots to close out the 73-70 victory.

Loyola allowed Coppin State to sink 9-16 attempts from beyond the arc and shoot 47.2 percent from the floor. The Greyhounds were 6-27 from three and 24-60 from the floor.

Expectations of the Greyhounds were not high to begin with. However, they have played poorly against every opponent. Two of their three wins came by three points against two bad teams. The other win was a 10-point victory at mediocre James Madison.

The good news for Patsos' squad is that they got two of their harder conference games out of the way. However, they resulted in losses to Siena and Niagara.

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Canisius (3-6) made the cross-state trip to Albany for their sole game of the week. Unfortunately for the Golden Griffs, the trip did not end well. They shot 31 percent from the field and an atrocious 41 percent from the charity stripe.

The result: a 74-46 victory for the Danes of Albany.

Canisius has now lost three straight games by an average of 23.3 points, and this week does not look too bright with games at Syracuse and against a solid Navy squad.

Solid perimeter defense propelled Iona (4-5) to two wins against Long Island and St. Francis (Pa.).

The Gaels held the Owls to 19 percent shooting from long range and then kept St. Francis at 28.6 percent.

Scott Machado was three rebounds away from his first career triple-double against the Red Flash. Kashif Pratt scored 22, and Jonathan Huffman hit three treys in the victory.

Saint Peter's (3-6) shot 30.8 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent from long range against N.J.I.T. Luckily for the Peacocks, the Highlanders were at 27.7 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively.

In an ugly game, Saint Peter's walked away with a 51-38 victory on the road.

Nick Leon scored 20 for the Peacocks on 13-14 foul shooting but 3-14 from the floor.

On Saturday, Saint Peter's hosted Seton Hall. As expected, they lost by double digits, even though neither team played well.

Leading scorer Wesley Jenkins sat out for both games.

Marist (3-6) suffered two double-digit losses to top mid-major programs. They fell 77-60 at Siena and 66-47 against Cleveland State.

The Red Foxes played an equal game against Siena. The difference was the 26 turnovers committed by Marist. Controlling the ball has been a problem for Marist all season.

Marist was out-shot, out-rebounded, and out-hustled against the Vikings of Cleveland State.

Manhattan (5-3) was carried by Chris Smith's career-high 35 points in a 70-60 victory against Princeton.

The Jaspers outran the Tigers in the beginning of the first half, saw their lead diminish to three points, but ultimately won by 10 in the end.

Manhattan shot 50 percent from the floor and beyond the arc, but only shot 61 percent from the charity stripe.

Most impressive, perhaps, were the Jaspers' turnover and foul totals for the game. They only turned the ball over five times against a Princeton defense that forces 16.6 turnovers per game, and committed a total of 13 team fouls.

Manhattan needs Smith and Devon Austin to produce on the same night. Austin only scored two points last night, and the two have not played well on the same night since an 81-67 victory at Fordham.

Rider (5-2) defeated Monmouth, 66-54, in their only game of the week.

No one stood out on the Broncs in the victory, and they were lucky that they converted on Monmouth's mistakes.

Monmouth is arguably the second-worst team in New Jersey, behind N.J.I.T, so Rider needed to come away with the win.

Tyrone Lewis, Benson Egemonye, and Bilal Benn carried Niagara (7-2) over South Florida.

Lewis caught fire early in the second half and went on to hit five of his 12 three-point attempts. The junior guard scored 23 points in the victory.

Egemonye added 17 points and six boards; Benn added 14 and 10.

Neither team shot well from any spot on the floor, but Niagara took advantage of their 42-33 rebounding difference.

Niagara has been very impressive this far and continue to make Siena worry about their matchup with the Purple Eagles.

Alex Franklin scored 22 points and added eight rebounds as Siena (5-3) defeated Marist.

The Saints shot 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. Fran McCaffery's Saints continue to keep their foul totals low—they committed 10 in the win.

Fairfield (8-3) is the hottest team in the MAAC and are winners of seven straight games. They've had to squeak out the last three victories, but nonetheless, they were wins.

This week, Fairfield beat Fordham by three and Drexel by six.

The Stags continue to struggle from the foul line but are developing a solid big-man-guard duo with Anthony Johnson and Jon Han.

Johnson was in double digits in rebounding this week, and Han continues to bring in the points and assists.

The Stags have the week off.

Team of the Week

Fairfield and Niagara share the honors this week. Niagara's win over South Florida was very impressive and looks good for the MAAC. Fairfield has won seven straight games, and the last two came against A-10 and CAA teams.

Player of the Week

This award is also going to be shared this week between Tyrone Lewis and Chris Smith.

Lewis' efforts against South Florida propelled his Purple Eagles past South Florida.

7-16 FG, 5-12 3PT, 4-6 FT, 23 points, six rebounds, two steals.

Chris Smith scored a career-high 35 points against Princeton, shooting 12-17 from the floor, 4-5 from deep, and 7-9 from the charity stripe. The sophomore also came away with two steals.


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