By Jaden Daly (@jadendaly) and Vincent Simone (@VTSimone)
MAAC Monday returns today in the same format in which it was presented last week, with a recap of the marquee conference game Jaden covered on Sunday, plus team spotlights for each of the two participants. From there, a refreshed set of stat leaders and power rankings, the latter an average of Jaden’s and Vinny’s individual rankings of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference programs, will be featured. Without any further ado, this week’s recap and team spotlights come from Riverdale, where Manhattan returned home for the first time in MAAC play after winning two of its first three league contests on the road, welcoming Siena into Draddy Gymnasium.
Following a loss to Hofstra that concluded non-conference play with a 4-5 record, Steve Masiello was more upbeat than some of his other contemporaries would be if they were thrust into his position shortly before the holiday season. Even with his Jaspers being subjected to the daunting Western New York swing to begin the conference slate, the veteran two-time champion head coach was largely optimistic about his squad’s prospects for the new calendar year and second half of the season, saying he was encouraged by what he had seen before squaring off against Canisius and Niagara and ultimately sweeping the Buffalo trip for a second year in a row.
A loss to Fairfield Friday night was merely a bump in the road for Manhattan on Sunday, as the Jaspers — behind an energetic home crowd that compensated for an absent student section due to the winter break — led from the start and never looked back, dominating Siena by the final of 81-69.
“I’m really proud of our guys for their resolve,” Masiello remarked as Manhattan (7-6, 3-1 MAAC) led by as many as 26 points before a late Siena run afforded the visiting Saints the opportunity to make the final margin less imposing at the horn. “The ability to turn around within 30 hours from a disappointing road loss at Fairfield and come out with the focus I thought we had, I don’t know if we could’ve done that a year ago. I think that was great maturity by our guys, it shows great growth by some of our younger players.”
With Tykei Greene (day-to-day) unavailable for a second straight game, the Jaspers rode the hot hand of Tyler Reynolds, whose 16 points were a season-high. Christian Hinckson, Greene’s replacement in the starting lineup — along with Samir Stewart and Elijah Buchanan — gave the hosts four double-digit scorers to complement a defensive effort that rendered Siena’s Jalen Pickett, the MAAC’s preseason player of the year, into a non-factor for the majority of the afternoon.
“Regardless of outcome, I really liked our mindset,” Masiello said, praising his team’s instincts. “I thought that was the key to our success this afternoon. We just didn’t want to give him anything easy, and we wanted him to do things that he’s not used to doing or doesn’t like to do.”
Siena (7-7, 3-2 MAAC) saw its Jekyll-and-Hyde home and road disparity continue Sunday — the Saints are undefeated at home, yet winless away from Times Union Center — but first-year head coach Carmen Maciariello refused to make excuses for what he deemed a no-show performance for all but four minutes.
“We played four minutes of Siena basketball,” a brutally honest Maciariello surmised. “It has nothing to do with the road, home, neutral site. That’s all garbage.”
On a more positive note, Siena is still forwardly positioned at the quarter pole of the MAAC schedule, and its rookie coach believes better results are ahead for both team and individual players such as Manny Camper, who posted 22 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
“We have enough talent to win every game,” Maciariello reiterated. “We need consistency from some guys where we’re getting that same amount of effort every single day in all that we do.”
“Manny’s great, he’s a warrior,” he continued, effusively praising Camper, who was seldom more than just a role player under Jimmy Patsos and Jamion Christian his first three years on the Saints’ roster. “He probably had the best summer out of everybody. He works on his game constantly, he’s diligent in how he takes care of his body and how he rests and gets treatment, and I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s a cornerstone of our program, and he’s the type of guy that just epitomizes Siena basketball in my tenure. Those are the type of guys I love to go to war with.”
On the other side of the court, Manhattan commenced its three-game homestand on a winning note, and with first-place Quinnipiac and Monmouth coming to town Thursday and Saturday, respectively, Masiello is pleasantly satisfied with the performance of a team he views as one with as much — if not more — upside than his 2013-14 championship outfit, although he explicitly stated both teams were comprised differently.
“Our practices for the last two-and-a-half weeks — going into Hofstra, the break, starting on December 27 — have been as good as I’ve seen us since I’ve been here,” he proclaimed. “Attention to detail, focus, effort, talking, communication, consistency — we just want to stay with that, and good things will come from that if we do that.”
1) Rich Kelly, Quinnipiac (18.1 PPG)
2) E.J. Crawford, Iona (17.8)
3) Jalen Pickett, Siena (15.5)
4) Deion Hammond, Monmouth (15.3)
5) Landon Taliaferro, Fairfield (14.6)
6) Tajuan Agee, Iona (14.5)
7) Elijah Burns, Siena (14.4)
T-8) Ray Salnave, Monmouth (14.0)
T-8) Dimencio Vaughn, Rider (14.0)
10) Donald Carey, Siena (13.9)
1) Kevin Marfo, Quinnipiac (13.8 RPG)
2) Manny Camper, Siena (11.5)
3) Tajuan Agee, Iona (8.8)
4) Tyere Marshall, Rider (8.7)
5) Dimencio Vaughn, Rider (7.0)
6) Tykei Greene, Manhattan (6.4)
7) Frederick Scott, Rider (6.3)
8) Elijah Burns, Siena (6.3)
9) Malik Johnson, Canisius (6.0)
10) Pauly Paulicap, Manhattan (5.9)
1) Malik Johnson, Canisius (5.6 APG)
2) Jalen Pickett, Siena (4.2)
3) Rich Kelly, Quinnipiac (4.1)
4) Stevie Jordan, Rider (4.0)
5) Samuel Chaput, Monmouth (3.6)
6) Tajuan Agee, Iona (3.1)
7) Marcus Hammond, Niagara (3.1)
8) Ray Salnave, Monmouth (3.0)
9) Nehemiah Mack, Manhattan (2.9)
10) Samir Stewart, Manhattan (2.9)
Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Elijah Burns, Siena (.589)
2) Tyere Marshall, Rider (.573)
3) Warren Williams, Manhattan (.548)
4) Greg Kuakumensah, Niagara (.545)
5) Vincent Eze, Fairfield (.535)
6) Tajuan Agee, Iona (.531)
7) Doug Edert, Saint Peter’s (.481)
8) Pauly Paulicap, Manhattan (.479)
9) E.J. Crawford, Iona (.475)
10) Manny Camper, Siena (.474)
Free Throw Percentage Leaders
1) Rich Kelly, Quinnipiac (.848)
2) Donald Carey, Siena (.848)
3) Ray Salnave, Monmouth (.846)
4) James Towns, Niagara (.820)
5) E.J. Crawford, Iona (.810)
6) Elijah Burns, Siena (.806)
7) Stevie Jordan, Rider (.788)
8) Scott Hitchon, Canisius (.783)
9) Taj Benning, Fairfield (.759)
10) Dimencio Vaughn, Rider (.754)
3-Point Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Doug Edert, Saint Peter’s (.517)
2) Ray Salnave, Monmouth (.466)
3) Jacob Rigoni, Quinnipiac (.451)
4) Matthew Lee, Saint Peter’s (.433)
5) Rich Kelly, Quinnipiac (.432)
6) Dimencio Vaughn, Rider (.425)
7) Frederick Scott, Rider (.408)
8) Matt Herasme, Marist (.400)
9) Landon Taliaferro, Fairfield (.398)
10) Marcus Hammond, Niagara (.395)
1) Malik Johnson, Canisius (2.6 SPG)
2) Stevie Jordan, Rider (1.7)
3) Isaiah Washington, Iona (1.7)
4) Ray Salnave, Monmouth (1.7)
5) E.J. Crawford, Iona (1.5)
Blocked Shot Leaders
1) KC Ndefo, Saint Peter’s (2.5 BPG)
2) Tajuan Agee, Iona (1.7)
3) Seth Pinkney, Quinnipiac (1.4)
4) Jalen Pickett, Siena (1.3)
5) Pauly Paulicap, Manhattan (1.2)
1) Quinnipiac (9-5, 4-0 MAAC)
Last Week: T-5
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 vs. Monmouth (W 84-70)
Next Game: Thursday 1/16 at Manhattan, 7 p.m.
2) Manhattan (7-6, 3-1 MAAC)
Last Week: 4
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 vs. Siena (W 81-69)
Next Game: Thursday 1/16 vs. Quinnipiac, 7 p.m.
3) Siena (7-7, 3-2 MAAC)
Last Week: 2
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 at Manhattan (L 81-69)
Next Game: Friday 1/17 at Canisius, 7 p.m.
4) Rider (9-6, 3-2 MAAC)
Last Week: 1
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 at Marist (W 69-52)
Next Game: Friday 1/17 at Niagara, 7 p.m.
T-5) Monmouth (8-7, 2-2 MAAC)
Last Week: 3
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 at Quinnipiac (L 84-70)
Next Game: Thursday 1/16 vs. Marist, 7 p.m.
T-5) Niagara (4-11, 2-2 MAAC)
Last Week: 9
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 at Iona (W 70-69)
Next Game: Friday 1/17 vs. Rider, 7 p.m.
7) Saint Peter’s (5-8, 2-2 MAAC)
Last Week: T-5
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 vs. Canisius (L 72-68)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/15 at Fairfield, 7 p.m.
8) Fairfield (6-9, 2-2 MAAC)
Last Week: T-7
Last Game: Friday 1/10 vs. Manhattan (W 68-60)
Next Game: Wednesday 1/15 vs. Saint Peter’s, 7 p.m.
9) Iona (3-8, 1-3 MAAC)
Last Week: T-7
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 vs. Niagara (L 70-69)
Next Game: Friday 1/17 vs. Fairfield, 7 p.m.
T-10) Canisius (6-10, 1-4 MAAC)
Last Week: 10
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 at Saint Peter’s (W 72-68)
Next Game: Friday 1/17 vs. Siena, 7 p.m.
T-10) Marist (2-12, 1-4 MAAC)
Last Week: 11
Last Game: Sunday 1/12 vs. Rider (L 69-52)
Next Game: Thursday 1/16 at Monmouth, 7 p.m.