-- Happy New Year! Time to take a look at the week that was in the MAAC and look ahead to the upcoming week (including games tonight):
Rider (3-11, 0-2) at Manhattan (9-5, 2-0): What a great opportunity for the Jaspers to start 3-0 in league play. They already own a win over Rider and host Tommy Dempsey's struggling club at 7 p.m. Steve Masiello's done an outstanding job, already winning nine games with a team that was victorious just six times a year ago. George Beamon (16.6 ppg) is having a terrific season.
Saint Peter's (2-11, 1-1) at Marist (6-7, 1-1): Chuck Martin's Red Foxes are another having more success this season than they did all of last. Their six wins match the total they had all of last year. On the other side, John Dunne's Peacocks were always going to struggle after losing four starters from the team that stormed to the MAAC tournament championship. SPC averages 58.4 points per game, a number that ranks it 328th in the country.
Niagara (5-9, 0-2) at Loyola (9-3, 2-0): Great bounce-back win by the Greyhounds at Bucknell after falling at Kentucky. Jimmy Pastos' next step: get his team to challenge Iona and Fairfield for the top spot in the MAAC. Loyola has great balance offensively -- four players scored in double figures against the Bison, led by 18 from the freakishly-athletic Erik Etherly. For the Purple Eagles, Juan'ya Green has all but locked up the league's Rookie of the Year. He scored 32 points (26 in the second half) as NU nearly rallied to knock off St. Bonaventure in its last game and leads the conference in scoring at 20.1 ppg.
-- Looking back at the week that was:
Canisius (3-10, 0-3): Last week -- def. Binghamton, 75-66; lost to Fairfield, 72-54. This week -- Jan. 5 at Saint Peter's; Jan. 7 at Loyola. OUTLOOK
: More woe from the Griffs who shot 29.5 percent in the 18-point loss to Fairfield. Canisius' challenge this year will be to battle Rider, Saint Peter's, Niagara, Marist and Siena to finish outside the bottom four and grab a first round bye in the MAAC tournament.
Fairfield (8-6, 3-0): Last week -- lost to Drexel, 77-69; def. Canisius, 72-54. This week -- Jan. 6 at Siena; Jan. 8 at Manhattan. OUTLOOK
: Sydney Johnson's Stags may have been disappointing in the non-conference but a 3-0 start to league play will still have them thinking they can repeat as regular-season champs. Boston College transfer Rakim Sanders is living up to the hype, averaging 16.1 ppg.
Iona (10-3, 2-0): Last week -- lost to Hofstra, 83-75. This week -- Jan. 3 vs. Siena; Jan. 6 vs. Niagara; Jan. 8 at Marist. OUTLOOK
: The Gaels continue to be the class of the league despite their loss to Hofstra. They start the conference long haul Tuesday against Siena. Iona is fifth in the nation in scoring at 85.1 points per game and the 75 against Hofstra was only the second time this season they haven't his the 80-point mark.
Loyola (9-3, 2-0): Last week -- def. Bucknell, 72-67; This week -- Tonight vs. Niagara; Jan. 5 vs. Manhattan; Jan. 7 vs. Canisius. OUTLOOK
: Three in a row at home at row could get the Greyhounds to 5-0 in league play.
Manhattan (9-5, 2-0): Last week -- def. Binghamton, 94-51. This week -- Tonight vs. Rider; Jan. 5 at Loyola; Jan. 8 vs. Fairfield. OUTLOOK
: See above.
Marist (6-7, 1-1): Last week -- def. Columbia, 79-59. This week -- Tonight vs. Saint Peter's; Jan. 6 at Rider; Jan. 8 vs. Iona. OUTLOOK
: See above.
Niagara (5-9, 0-2): Last week -- def. UMBC, 92-75; lost to St. Bonaventure, 72-70. This week -- Tonight at Loyola; Jan. 6 at Iona; Ja. 8 at Siena. OUTLOOK
: Just give Juan'ya Green Freshman of the Year already.
Rider (3-11, 0-2): Last week -- lost to Stony Brook, 79-62; This week -- Tonight at Manhattan; Jan. 6 vs. Marist; Jan. 8 at Saint Peter's. OUTLOOK
: Tommy Dempsey's team is desperate to avoid a season sweep against Manhattan. Dempsey still believes there is a gap between the top three (Iona, Fairfield, Loyola) and the rest of the league leaving spots 4 through 10 up for grabs. Rider will want to avoid finishing in the bottom four.
Siena (5-7, 1-1): Last week -- def. Florida Atlantic, 67-60; This week: -- Jan 3. vs. Iona; Jan. 6 vs. Fairfield; Jan 8 vs. Niagara. OUTLOOK
: The Saints have rebounded nicely from a stretch in which they lost seven of eight to win two straight. They'll find out a lot about themselves when they face Iona tomorrow and then Fairfield in their first two MAAC games of 2012.
Saint Peter's (2-11, 0-2): Last week -- lost to Lehigh, 76-67. This week -- Tonight at Marist; Jan. 5 vs. Canisius; Jan. 8 vs. Rider: OUTLOOK
: See above.
Juan'ya Green (Niagara) scored 32 points, 26 in the second half, to nearly lead the Purple Eagles to a comeback victory against St. Bonaventure. Green was 10 of 17 from the field, 2 of 5 from behind the arc and 10 of 15 from the foul line. He leads the MAAC in scoring at 20.1 points per game and surely is a look for Freshman of the Year.
Erik Etherly (Loyola) scored 18 points to help the Greyhounds bounce back from their loss at No. 1 Kentucky with an impressive win at Bucknell.
It's hard to say anything negative about the play of Scott Machado (Iona) but the First Team All-MAAC point guard had just five points in the loss to Hofstra. He did dish out 10 assists but had a very un-Machado like six turnovers.
Tom Parrotta (Canisius) has to get more out of his Griffs. 3-10 isn't good enough for a coach that really needed a good season.
Rider's first half at Stony Brook. The Broncs had won two in a row coming in but made it impossible for themselves to make it three by scoring 19 first half points and falling behind by as many as 20 in those opening 20 minutes. By the time Rider rallied to get within eight, it didn't have anything left to get any closer.
Labels: Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Loyola, MAAC, Manhattan, Marist, Niagara, Rider, Saint Peter's, St. Peter's Siena