Monday, January 8, 2018

MAAC Monday: Observations from Sunday's action, stat leaders, power rankings

The latest edition of MAAC Monday features a different look than usual, with advanced stats taking a backseat to a more introspective set of observations from the two games our site covered yesterday, as Iona defeated Fairfield and Rider came back from an 11-point deficit to stun Manhattan on the road despite a lackluster effort in free throw and three-point shooting. Secondly, we will present our normal full set of stat leaders for the first time this season, before bringing down the curtain with the latest set of power rankings, which will see significant movement after what happened in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this week. We begin with some takeaways from New Rochelle:

Among the many bright spots for Iona in their 84-65 victory over Fairfield was the effectiveness of Schadrac Casimir in his second consecutive game with a heavy workload, something the former MAAC Rookie of the Year has not been able to handle consistently during his recovery from three hip surgeries. On Sunday, two days removed from scoring 18 points and playing 35 minutes in the Gaels' come-from-behind win over Saint Peter's, the redshirt junior scored 11 points in 28 minutes against a quicker Stags outfit; and more importantly, showed no ill effects of his recurring injury.

"Today, I thought he took a big step in that direction," head coach Tim Cluess said of Casimir being able to string a pair of consistent games together, something that Casimir's return to the starting lineup Sunday was able to accelerate. "I'm real happy for the weekend, real happy for him."

Cluess also noted the greater options in Iona's arsenal this season, a trait that was on display as nine Gaels saw double-digit minutes in Sunday's win.

"It gives you opportunities, when somebody's not playing their best game, for other guys to step in," he said. "That's the biggest key, that we have options, and options are always good. We don't have the alpha dog, but I think we're deeper."

Going into the year, one of Fairfield's biggest concerns would be how the transfers of Curtis Cobb and Jerry Johnson, Jr. would affect the Stags' shooting from three-point range. The arrival of Ferron Flavors, Jr. has dissipated those fears throughout the season. The junior college transfer, only in his sophomore season, is leading the team by shooting over 36 percent from long distance, and his 11.1 points per game is second only to Tyler Nelson.

"I think the shooting just jumps out," said head coach Sydney Johnson of Flavors. "He's a fantastic shooter. We track our numbers in practice, and he's at the top across the board; makes, percentages, the whole deal. So between him and Tyler, I think as we move forward, Ferron will expand on his game without question. When he has a shot, we feel like it's going down, as does he, and it's made us a much more well-rounded team."

Picked second in the MAAC behind Iona to start the season, Manhattan's 2-0 start to conference play was offset this past weekend with losses to Monmouth and Rider that exposed a flaw to the Jaspers' game when Zane Waterman and Pauly Paulicap got into foul trouble. Over their past two contests, Manhattan has been outscored in the paint by an overwhelming 100-30 margin, first by a 42-10 count at Monmouth before the Broncs had their way inside to the tune of a 58-20 final margin Sunday. Regardless, head coach Steve Masiello continues to believe that his feel for his team remains the same, and that the issues that appear to be prevalent can soon be rectified.

"The feel hasn't changed," Masiello confidently stated. "You guys panic. I'm not going to panic over two games. I didn't think we were the champions when we were 2-0, and I don't think we're out of it at 2-2. It's the first week of January. I think we've got to address some things and change them quickly from a defensive standpoint, because we're a much better defensive team."

Rider's youth has been a major part of the Broncs' 3-1 start to conference play, and 10-6 start overall. In fact, each of Kevin Baggett's top five scorers is either a freshman or sophomore, and the quintet has accounted for nearly 68 points per game on average, more than 80 percent of the team average of 83.6 markers per contest.

"They've made a difference on me," Baggett quipped. "I'm getting older by the minute, but they're good. These guys are growing up. From the first game to where we are now, I thought they're doing a really good job. They're growing up, we're defending better, we've got young guys starting to step up in some leadership roles now."

"The sky's the limit for this group," he added. "We've just got to stay together, we've got to mature, we've got to practice better. Once we do that, then we're going to be a pretty good team."

And while Stevie Jordan and Tyere Marshall have blossomed in their second year alongside redshirt freshmen Dimencio Vaughn and Frederick Scott, the latter of whom can be a potential MAAC Player of the Year down the road with his David Laury-like floor game and tendency to collect double-doubles at will, not to mention the scoring potential of Jordan Allen, it was an unsung hero in Tyrei Randall who played one of the bigger roles in Sunday's win over Manhattan.

"I trust him," said Baggett of his 6-foot-5 freshman wing. "I see what he does in practice, I know what he's capable of. He's not afraid. He went out there and competed, shot, defended. It's one of those feel things that you watch in practice, and I see him growing. We went with the hot hand."

Scoring Leaders
1) Matt Scott, Niagara (22.2 PPG)
2) Kahlil Dukes, Niagara (20.6)

3) Tyler Nelson, Fairfield (20.1)
4) Brian Parker, Marist (18.9)
5) Cameron Young, Quinnipiac (17.4)
6) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (16.1)
7) Jermaine Crumpton, Canisius (15.7)
8) Nick Griffin, Saint Peter's (15.4)
9) Nico Clareth, Siena (15.1)
10) Frederick Scott, Rider (14.8)

Rebounding Leaders
1) Marvin Prochet, Niagara (8.6 RPG)
2) Matt Scott, Niagara (8.1)
3) Frederick Scott, Rider (7.9)
4) TK Edogi, Iona (7.7)
5) Tyere Marshall, Rider (6.9)
6) Zane Waterman, Manhattan (6.3)
7) Quinn Taylor, Saint Peter's (6.3)
8) Abdulai Bundu, Quinnipiac (6.2)
9) Cameron Young, Quinnipiac (6.0)
10) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (5.9)

Assist Leaders
1) Stevie Jordan, Rider (6.7 APG)
2) Rich Kelly, Quinnipiac (5.9)

T-3) Rickey McGill, Iona (5.0)
T-3) Austin Tilghman, Monmouth (5.0)
5) Malik Johnson, Canisius (4.8)
6) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (4.6)
7) Kahlil Dukes, Niagara (3.6)
8) Zavier Turner, Manhattan (3.6)
9) Zach Lewis, Iona (3.2)
T-10) Deyshonee Much, Iona (3.0)
T-10) Jerome Segura, Fairfield (3.0)

Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Jonathan Kasibabu, Fairfield (.608)
2) Pauly Paulicap, Manhattan (.605)
3) TK Edogi, Iona (.561)
4) Tyere Marshall, Rider (.524)
5) Frederick Scott, Rider (.519)
6) Chaise Daniels, Quinnipiac (.518)
7) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (.495)
8) Roland Griffin, Iona (.490)
9) Dimencio Vaughn, Rider (.487)
10) Brian Parker, Marist (.484)

Free Throw Percentage Leaders
1) David Knudsen, Marist (.909)
2) Kahlil Dukes, Niagara (.902)
3) Tyler Nelson, Fairfield (.882)
4) Nico Clareth, Siena (.867)
5) Isaiah Lamb, Marist (.818)
6) E.J. Crawford, Iona (.814)
7) Jermaine Crumpton, Canisius (.813)
8) Roman Penn, Siena (.811)
9) Dimencio Vaughn, Rider (.810)
10) James Towns, Niagara (.804)

Three-Point Field Goal Leaders
1) Jacob Rigoni, Quinnipiac (.529)
2) Louie Pillari, Monmouth (.457)
3) Schadrac Casimir, Iona (.453)
4) Jan Svandrlik, Iona (.438)
5) Spencer Foley, Canisius (.433)
6) Zavier Turner, Manhattan (.432)
7) Rich Williams, Manhattan (.431)
8) Kahlil Dukes, Niagara (.426)
9) Ryan Funk, Marist (.403)
10) Deion Hammond, Monmouth (.400)

Steal Leaders
1) Stevie Jordan, Rider (2.1 SPG)
2) Isaiah Reese, Canisius (2.1)

3) Dimencio Vaughn, Rider (1.7)
4) Jesus Cruz, Fairfield (1.7)
5) Rickey McGill, Iona (1.6)

Blocked Shot Leaders
1) Pauly Paulicap, Manhattan (2.3 BPG)
2) Chaise Daniels, Quinnipiac (1.5)

3) Selvedin Planincic, Canisius (1.2)
4) Samuel Idowu, Saint Peter's (1.1)
5) Marvin Prochet, Niagara (1.1)

Power Rankings
1) Iona (9-7, 3-1 MAAC)
Last Week:
 4

Last Game: Sunday 1/7 vs. Fairfield (W 84-65)
Next Game: Thursday 1/11 vs. Siena, 7 p.m.

2) Rider (10-6, 3-1 MAAC)
Last Week:
 3

Last Game: Sunday 1/7 at Manhattan (W 82-76)
Next Game: Friday 1/12 vs. Quinnipiac, 7 p.m.

3) Canisius (9-8, 3-1 MAAC)
Last Week:
 1

Last Game: Sunday 1/7 at Siena (L 65-62)
Next Game: Friday 1/12 vs. Saint Peter's, 7 p.m.

4) Saint Peter's (8-7, 2-2 MAAC)
Last Week:
 5

Last Game: Sunday 1/7 vs. Quinnipiac (W 84-58)
Next Game: Friday 1/12 at Canisius, 7 p.m.

5) Manhattan (7-9, 2-2 MAAC)
Last Week:
 2

Last Game: Sunday 1/7 vs. Rider (L 82-76)
Next Game: Thursday 1/11 at Fairfield, 7 p.m.

6) Niagara (9-8, 2-2 MAAC)
Last Week:
 8

Last Game: Sunday 1/7 at Marist (W 86-70)
Next Game: Friday 1/12 vs. Monmouth, 7 p.m.

7) Quinnipiac (5-11, 2-2 MAAC)
Last Week:
 6

Last Game: Sunday 1/7 at Saint Peter's (L 84-58)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/10 vs. Marist, 7 p.m.

8) Monmouth (5-10, 1-2 MAAC)
Last Week:
 9

Last Game: Friday 1/5 vs. Manhattan (W 77-66)
Next Game: Friday 1/12 at Niagara, 7 p.m.

9) Fairfield (6-9, 1-3 MAAC)
Last Week:
 7

Last Game: Sunday 1/7 at Iona (L 84-65)
Next Game: Thursday 1/11 vs. Manhattan, 7 p.m.

10) Siena (5-12, 1-3 MAAC)
Last Week: 11
Last Game: Sunday 1/7 vs. Canisius (W 65-62)
Next Game: Thursday 1/11 at Iona, 7 p.m.

11) Marist (3-12, 1-2 MAAC)
Last Week: 10
Last Game: Sunday 1/7 vs. Niagara (W 86-70)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/10 at Quinnipiac, 7 p.m.

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