Monday, January 18, 2016

MAAC Monday: Iona/Monmouth wrapup, offenses/defenses, stat leaders, power rankings

Lost amid postgame fireworks between Monmouth and Iona was Justin Robinson's career night. (Photo courtesy of Monmouth University Athletic Communications)

This week's edition of "MAAC Monday" takes on a somewhat different tone, similar to the last one of 2015, which featured a non-conference review as opposed to the statistical breakdowns you would normally see in the opening segment. After letting the madness from Monmouth's thrilling victory over Iona marinate an additional 48 hours, this week's opener will feature final thoughts from the Hawks' 110-102 takedown of Tim Cluess and the Gaels. In addition to the individual stat leaders normally profiled in the middle portion, team offense and defense will also be highlighted this week. Finally, the curtain will be brought down once again with the latest set of weekly power rankings as the halfway point of the conference season draws nearer. Without any further ado, here are some closing observations from a wild Friday night in New Rochelle:

  • Both point guards' performances, like many other things, were overshadowed by what happened in the postgame handshake line.
    In the losing effort, A.J. English had another night to remember with his 45 points, the second 40-point game in six weeks for the MAAC's Preseason Player of the Year. "He is a great player," Monmouth head coach King Rice said. "I hope he gets to play for a long, long, long time." Rice's own floor general, Justin Robinson, had a defining game of his own, wrapping up a masterpiece with a career-best 29 points and four assists, and added to his ledger with a 12-for-12 effort at the foul line.

  • A pair of role players stepped up during Monmouth's second half explosion.
    The Hawks scorched the Hynes Athletics Center nets to the tune of a 20-for-30 showing after the intermission, with junior guard Josh James being the first to elevate his game in direct proportion to Monmouth's ever-growing lead on the scoreboard. Then, Collin Stewart happened. In the span of just 85 seconds, the sharpshooting wing connected on four consecutive three-pointers to turn a seesaw battle into a double-digit runaway. "I think Collin Stewart can play after college," a proud Rice declared after Stewart's marksmanship validated his unwavering confidence in the redshirt junior. "I think he can play in the big league, and everybody thinks I'm crazy. The way he shoots the ball, you have to stand next to him, and Collin's still working on his confidence. When Collin really, truly believes in himself, somebody will be lucky have to him on his team after he gets out of college, because he makes them even more than he was making tonight."

  • "We're still the little brother."
    Rice characterized Monmouth this way in the run up to Friday's contest, stating that Iona has been the class of the conference for several years, and that the Hawks would "give it another try" after last March's MAAC Tournament defeat reaffirmed the standing of both programs. On the heels of a monumental victory that he considered bigger than any of the attention-grabbing non-conference wins solely based on the premise of it being a league win, Rice remained humble and gracious. "We are not there," he stated. "We have not won anything. We're still the little brother until we win the league. Until that happens, we're the little brother. They have another gear to go to. They'll continue to get better. Tonight, we just made a few more shots than them."

  • Both sides are open to the aspect of a developing rivalry.
    Talk of Iona-Monmouth possibly becoming as big as the Iona-Manhattan rivalry has been during the past three years was fueled within seconds of the final buzzer, and each coach offered their thoughts. "I hope so," Rice opined when asked if a rivalry has grown. "To have a rivalry, you've got to win sometimes. We won one last year, now we've got this one, so I think we're gaining some respect from some of the better teams, but we have to have more success before it could be a true, true rivalry. They've been the best team, we're still the new kids on the block trying to get up the ladder. Hopefully we're getting closer."

    "It's fun to have a good rivalry," Tim Cluess chimed in. "Of course it's a good rivalry. They're a great team, and we gave it our best shot tonight."

  • The fallout from the postgame incident may not be over yet.
    Even after Iona suspended Jordan Washington from both yesterday's loss at Rider and the Gaels' upcoming home game Friday against Saint Peter's, Josh Newman; who covers Monmouth for the Asbury Park Press, tweeted Sunday that he would expect commissioner Rich Ensor to render a verdict on Tuesday, giving both teams the opportunity to complete their weekend before making any sort of judgment.
Team Points Per Game (from highest to lowest)
1) Monmouth (81.0 PPG)
2) Canisius (80.2)
3) Iona (79.8)
4) Fairfield (78.6)
5) Siena (77.4)
6) Marist (72.7)
7) Manhattan (68.8)
8) Saint Peter's (68.1)
9) Rider (67.1)
10) Quinnipiac (66.2)
11) Niagara (63.2)

Points Per Game Against (from lowest to highest)
1) Saint Peter's (67.2)
2) Niagara (69.8)
3) Rider (69.9)
4) Quinnipiac (71.7)
5) Siena (72.9)
T-6) Manhattan (74.9)
T-6) Monmouth (74.9)
8) Iona (77.1)
9) Canisius (79.6)
10) Marist (79.6)
11) Fairfield (80.4)

Scoring Leaders
*A.J. English, Iona (25.4 PPG)
1) Khallid Hart, Marist (22.8 PPG)
2) Justin Robinson, Monmouth (20.6)
3) Marcus Gilbert, Fairfield (19.3)
4) Shane Richards, Manhattan (18.3)
*Marquis Wright, Siena (17.3)
5) Brian Parker, Marist (16.5)
6) Malcolm McMillan, Canisius (16.0)
7) Jordan Washington, Iona (15.8)
8) Rich Williams, Manhattan (15.7)
9) Tyler Nelson, Fairfield (15.6)
10) Brett Bisping, Siena (15.0)

Rebounding Leaders
1) Brett Bisping, Siena (8.5 RPG)
2) Quadir Welton, Saint Peter's (7.3)
3) Kahlil Thomas, Rider (7.3)
4) Deon Jones, Monmouth (7.2)
5) Isaiah Williams, Iona (7.1)
6) Matt Scott, Niagara (6.8)
7) Rich Williams, Manhattan (6.8)
8) Donovan Smith, Quinnipiac (6.6)
9) Javion Ogunyemi, Siena (6.5)
10) Abdulai Bundu, Quinnipiac (6.5)

Assist Leaders
1) Tyler Wilson, Manhattan (6.1 APG)
*A.J. English, Iona (6.1)
2) Jerome Segura, Fairfield (5.5)
3) Trevis Wyche, Saint Peter's (4.7)
*Marquis Wright, Siena (4.6)
4) Teddy Okereafor, Rider (4.4)
5) Malcolm McMillan, Canisius (4.4)
6) Tyler Nelson, Fairfield (3.5)
7) Justin Robinson, Monmouth (3.4)
8) Giovanni McLean, Quinnipiac (3.4)
9) Lavon Long, Siena (3.3)
10) Brian Parker, Marist (3.1)

Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Kahlil Thomas, Rider (.565)
2) Chris Brady, Monmouth (.561)
T-3) Jordan Washington, Iona (.538)
T-3) Trevis Wyche, Saint Peter's (.538)
5) Brian Parker, Marist (.528)
6) Javion Ogunyemi, Siena (.520)
7) Xavier Lundy, Rider (.481)
*Marquis Wright, Siena (.481)
8) Deyshonee Much, Iona (.479)
9) Zane Waterman, Manhattan (.477)
10) Lavon Long, Siena (.476)

Free Throw Percentage Leaders
1) Je'lon Hornbeak, Monmouth (.952)
*A.J. English, Iona (.880)
2) Tyler Nelson, Fairfield (.878)
3) Deyshonee Much, Iona (.875)
4) Justin Robinson, Monmouth (.869)
5) Shane Richards, Manhattan (.832)
6) Micah Seaborn, Monmouth (.815)
7) Khallid Hart, Marist (.811)
8) Malcolm McMillan, Canisius (.808)
9) Marcus Gilbert, Fairfield (.800)
10) Rich Williams, Manhattan (.785)

Three-Point Field Goal Percentage Leaders
*Marquis Wright, Siena (.548)
1) Deyshonee Much, Iona (.474)
2) RaShawn Stores, Manhattan (.435)
3) Isaiah Lamb, Marist (.434)
4) Khallid Hart, Marist (.427)
5) Micah Seaborn, Monmouth (.419)
6) Justin Robinson, Monmouth (.417)
7) Collin Stewart, Monmouth (.408)
8) Jerry Johnson, Fairfield (.406)
9) Marcus Gilbert, Fairfield (.400)
10) Daniel Harris, Quinnipiac (.398)

Power Rankings
1) Monmouth (13-4, 5-1 MAAC)
Last Week:
 1
Last Game: Friday 1/15 at Iona (W 110-102)
Next Game: Monday 1/18 vs. Siena, 4 p.m.

2) Iona (9-8, 6-2 MAAC)
Last Week: 2
Last Game: Sunday 1/17 at Rider (L 79-75)
Next Game: Friday 1/22 vs. Saint Peter's, 7 p.m.

3) Saint Peter's (7-8, 5-1 MAAC)
Last Week: 3
Last Game: Sunday 1/17 vs. Marist (W 76-67)
Next Game: Tuesday 1/19 at Fairfield, 7 p.m. (Alumni Hall)

4) Siena (11-6, 4-2 MAAC)
Last Week:
 4
Last Game: Friday 1/15 at Quinnipiac (W 64-52)
Next Game: Monday 1/18 at Monmouth, 4 p.m.

5) Manhattan (7-10, 4-4 MAAC)
Last Week:
5
Last Game: Sunday 1/17 vs. Niagara (W 69-64)
Next Game: Thursday 1/21 vs. Monmouth, 8 p.m.

6) Fairfield (9-8, 3-4 MAAC)
Last Week:
 6
Last Game: Friday 1/15 vs. Niagara (W 73-68)
Next Game: Tuesday 1/19 vs. Saint Peter's, 7 p.m. (Alumni Hall)

7) Canisius (9-10, 4-4 MAAC)
Last Week:
 9
Last Game: Sunday 1/17 at Quinnipiac (W 63-53)
Next Game: Friday 1/22 at Niagara, 7 p.m.

8) Rider (6-12, 2-5 MAAC)
Last Week:
 11
Last Game: Sunday 1/17 vs. Iona (W 79-75)
Next Game: Thursday 1/21 at Siena, 7 p.m.

9) Niagara (5-14, 3-5 MAAC)
Last Week:
 7
Last Game: Sunday 1/17 at Manhattan (L 69-64)
Next Game: Friday 1/22 vs. Canisius, 7 p.m.

10) Quinnipiac (5-11, 2-5 MAAC)
Last Week:
8
Last Game: Sunday 1/17 vs. Canisius (L 63-53)
Next Game: Sunday 1/24 at Rider, 4 p.m.

11) Marist (4-12, 1-6 MAAC)
Last Week:
 10
Last Game: Sunday 1/17 at Saint Peter's (L 76-67)
Next Game: Friday 1/22 vs. Fairfield, 7 p.m.

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