The MAAC race is heating up! We’ve got four legitimate title contenders battling it out. Niagara and Canisius just held serve at home. The Thursday / Friday slate is a little slow this week, contenders will play non-contenders exclusively. First here’s a look back at the good, the bad and the ugly from last week.
Dylon and Erik crack a milestone - Loyola (MD)’s Dylon Cormier scored his 1,000th point with 11:39 left in the Greyhounds’ 65-60 victory over Fairfield on Monday. He finished the game with 21 points. Cormier is the leading scorer on a Loyola team that is establishing itself as one of the elite contenders in the league this season at 6-2 in league play. Cormier’s teammate, Erik Etherly, also went over 1,000 points in the game. Etherly got his 1,000th point on a three-point play just 15 seconds into the second half.
Niagara’s in control - Congratulations to the Purple Eagles. After taking care of business against Manhattan and Siena last week Niagara has a one-game lead over all of the MAAC contenders. Joe Mihalich now gets most of the MAAC contenders at home, though they do travel to Rider.
Streaking Broncs - Rider’s five-game losing streak in December seems like ages ago thanks to a five-game conference winning streak. Defense has keyed the run. The Broncs haven’t allowed more than 0.95 points per possession in any game during the streak, which includes home wins over Loyola and Iona. The Gaels shot just 34% from the field at Alumni Gym on Sunday.
Sosa, so sweet - Isaac Sosa is having one awesome senior season. The 6’3″ guard was named MAAC player of the week after he scored 43 points in two wins over Siena and Manhattan. Sosa scored 18 points in 18 minutes against the Saints. The UCF transfer has the 23rd best offensive rating in the country and almost never turns the ball over. He’s a big piece of the Golden Griffins’ dynamic attack.
Fairfield’s schedule - What did the Stags do to the MAAC schedule makers to convince them to open with this absolutely awful schedule? The Stags are on a five-game losing streak and the losses are to: Niagara (twice), Loyola (twice) and Iona. I’m pretty sure most teams in the MAAC would lose all five of those. The good news? The schedule gets easier from here on out. The only contenders Sydney Johnson’s team plays the rest of the season are Rider and Iona at home.
It wasn’t twice as nice - How crazy is it that Manhattan lost both games in its upstate New York trip by the same 64-60 score? I’ve already written about Manhattan’s foul prone tendencies, but the Jaspers allowed Niagara to attempt 49 free throws against just 35 field goal attempts. That’s a free throw rate of 140! (An update to last week’s game? 5:46, 11:36, 6:55, 10:46. Getting better.)
Siena’s defensive sieve - The fact that the Saints lost both games during a tough Buffalo road trip wouldn’t have been enough to land them in this category, the fact that Siena allowed more than 1.25 points per possession to both teams did. The Saints’ offense just isn’t going to be any good this season, there’s nothing anyone can do about it. The defense has to keep the Saints in games and against Niagara and Canisius it never showed up.
Can someone please score? - St. Peter’s is really struggling to score during MAAC play. The Peacocks have yet to score more than a point per possession in any conference game. It’s not getting better either, they scored 0.71 points per possession in a 59-48 loss at Marist. St. Peter’s is shooting 60% from the free throw line, 338th nationally.
Note: Iona and Marist slip by this week. Don’t know what to say about either of their 1-1 weekends.