MAAC Stock Watch: Nov. 17

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference went 4-9 in the season’s first three days, but there are plenty of bright spots, even in losses for some teams.

Yale-2014 - 05
Quinnipiac senior Zaid Hearst went for a career high 35 points in the Bobcats victory over Yale Friday night. (photo courtesy: Quinnipiac athletics)

Stock Up: King Rice, Monmouth – Prior to his fourth season as head coach, the 45 year-old received a three year contract extension that brings his deal to the end of the 2018-19 season. While the Hawks haven’t had a winning season yet under Rice, things look promising this season and that was evident when Monmouth held a double-digit lead on West Virginia with under eight minutes to go in the second half. They let that slip away, but the fruits of Rice’s recruiting efforts to get his program up to MAAC speed are starting to grow. Even with setbacks such as Micah Seaborn’s eligibility saga, transfers such as Brice Kofane — who grabbed 11 rebounds and scored eight points in his debut — have boosted the offense. This will be an important weekend for Rice and the Hawks to see if they can pull off three home victories, to try to have a three-game win streak for the first time since the program’s nine-point win over Fordham last December.

Stock Up: Zaid Hearst, Quinnipiac – The Bobcats senior did put together a 33 point game last season against Canisius, but in two extra periods the 6’4″ Hearst put up 35 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists in their double overtime win over Yale. Last season he was the ancillary weapon to the strong group of weapons, but most head coaches in the league noticed how his playmaking ability would hurt them. This season it will be on him to punish teams when Ousmane Drame doesn’t. Drame, by the way, had 13 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks and three steals — easily living up to the first-team All-MAAC hype.

Stock Down: Marist – One coach told me recently that they have two great players in sophomore Khallid Hart and senior Chavaughn Lewis, but not much else. That is about how the script unfolded in head coach Mike Maker’s debut in Lewisburg, PA as the Red Foxes fell to Bucknell 75-72. Hart scored a career-high 33 points and Lewis added 18 of his own, combining for 51 of the team’s 72 points. The two combined to shoot 44.7% from the field (17 for 38), but their teammates shot 7 for 19 from the field (38%).

Ironically, Marist attempted 28 three-pointers in their season opener on Friday night, one more than last year’s season opener under Jeff Bower. The concern, at this point, is that the only true freshman to get into the game was James Griffin for five minutes. Maker and athletic director Tim Murray were both adamant when Maker was hired that the five recruits signed by Bower and his coaching staff would stay, but it will be up to Maker to prove that they will be solid contributors.

Small Sample Size Overreaction Theatre: Rider will never get to the free throw line. After all they attempted just 4 free throws in their loss to Princeton on Friday. Manhattan on Saturday attempted 36 free throws. Also, Saint Peter’s won’t go 0-28 after dropping games at Brown and at Hartford. The Peacocks shot just 20% from three-point range after making just nine of their first 45 shots from deep in the game. The main concern for the Peacocks should be the health of senior Desi Washington, who missed Sunday’s game at Hartford after spraining his wrist in their 70-58 loss to Brown. Canisius will not go undefeated without Billy Baron, even though they did win their opener on Saturday over Vermont thanks to a 24-point game from sophomore Phil Valenti. Probably the more surprising fact is that Josiah Heath tied a career-high with five offensive rebounds and that the Griffs won on a day where Zach Lewis was held to just seven points.

Early Conference Play: This next part will go away next week, but on Thursday the Purple Eagles and Peacocks will have a chance to lead the conference standings for two weeks.

Chances a Team Goes Undefeated in MAAC Play (according to Iona 0.2%, rest of conference 0.00%.

Chances a Team Goes Winless in MAAC Play (according to Niagara 0.01%, rest of conference 0.00%.

Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]

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