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Is MAAC Men's Basketball Really a Two-Team Race?

(Via Manhattan Athletics)

(Via Manhattan Athletics)

 

It is looking like the 2014/15 MAAC Men’s Basketball regular season title is going to boil down to two teams with a history of battling for the championship – Iona and Manhattan.

In the current MAAC standings, Iona sits at the top of the standings with a 9-2 record followed closely by Rider (9-4) and coach Steve Masiello’s Manhattan Jaspers (8-4).

However, the Jaspers may have a slight edge over Rider for two reasons and they have a big “if” attached to them as well.

First of all, the Jaspers and Broncs meet this Sunday in the MAAC’s featured game of the weekend. Assuming the Jasper’s can get by tonight’s contest with Canisius, Sunday’s game will loom as a fight for second place.

A Manhattan win over Rider on Sunday will propel them into second place and clear the way for the matchup with Iona on Friday, February 13.

The two teams would meet again on Friday, February 27, with perhaps the MAAC regular season title riding in the balance.

The red-hot Jasper’s are on a three-game winning streak and as Masiello noted in the MAAC weekly coaches press conference, starting to take on the “mentality of being lions.”

“We are not quite playing a complete game on both ends,” bellowed Masiello in no uncertain terms.

“But we are getting close and at the right time in the MAAC season.

“We are starting to get a little bit of an ‘edge’ in our play.”

When asked if the strength of their non-conference schedule was helping his ball club Masiello emphatically concurred.

“There is no question that the strength of our non-conference games has helped build our mental toughness.”

Of course a Rider win this Sunday over the Jasper’s can knock the wind out of their regular season championship sails.

 

MAAC Men’s Musings:

 

Marist’s Chavaughn Lewis was last week’s MAAC Player of the Week.

The 6-foot 5-inch senior averaged 28.5 points to lead Marist to a pair of road wins over Canisius and Niagara. It was the first time in Marist’s 18 year history in the MAAC that they swept the two Western New York schools on the road.

It was third straight win for Marist.

 

Niagara’s Dominque Reid was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week honors.

The 6-foot 8-inch red-shirt freshman averaged 15.5 points and 8 boards per game in leading the Purple Eagles to a split of last weekend’s MAAC games.

Reid excelled in Niagara’s double overtime win over Quinnipiac as he poured in 20 points while grabbing 10 boards.

 

Quinnipiac’s Ousmane Drame recorded his 1000th career rebound in leading the Bobcats to a 72-52 over Monmouth.

The win over Monmouth marked the 140th career win for Bobcat head coach Tom Moore.

Iona’s David Laury continues to lead the MAAC in scoring at 21 ppg.

He is followed closely by team mate AJ English and Marist’s Chavaughn Lewis at 20.7 ppg.

Both of the upcoming Manhattan/Iona games will be broadcast live on the ESPN network channels.

The February 13 game can be seen live on ESPNU (10 p.m.) and the February 27 game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 (7 p.m.)

The MAAC men’s basketball championship (and Women’s) will held March 5-9 at the Times-Union Center in Albany, NY.

Manhattan is the defending MAAC tournament champion as they defeated Iona, 71-68, at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA.

 

MAAC Men’s Basketball Standings (February 5)

 

Iona                  9-2

Rider                 9-4

Manhattan        8-4

Monmouth       8-5

Canisius           7-5

Siena                6-6

Quinnipiac       6-7

Fairfield           4-8

Saint Peter’s     4-8

Niagara            3-9

Marist              3-9

 

 

 

(Compiled with data from MAAC and member institution media releases)

Follow DoubleG college sports correspondent Bob Whitney on Twitter for all the pregame, game and postgame highlights: @WhitneyBob

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