MAAC Weekly Roundup: Dec. 22

The entire country, not just the MAAC, has awoken to see that the Monmouth Hawks may become one of the many stories of the early college basketball season.

Two MAAC teams, Iona and Canisius, are in Las Vegas this week for some games prior to the holiday break. Despite that, this coming week will feature few games as teams take a break for the holidays. Here are some numbers to know from the past week:

 Rank Monmouth’s Top 25 Voters
24 Kevin Lyttle, Austin American Statesman
25 Chuck McGill, Charleston (WV) Daily
25 Dave Borges, New Haven Register
25 John Feinstein, NPR
25 Jon Rothstein, CBS Sports

6 – The number of votes Monmouth received in the most recent AP Top 25 poll. The Hawks received their highest ranking yet, 24th, by one voter.

7 – The new career-high for three-pointers set by Manhattan senior Shane Richards in their 78-66 win over Morgan State. The Jaspers will need Richards to top this number to compete with their lack of depth this season.

0.82 – The amount of points per possession that Monmouth’s defense has allowed in their last four games. Those games are wins over Niagara, Wagner to go with holding down Georgetown and Rutgers to under a point per possession. The Hawks appear to have taken the next step in building their defense, which was their weak point earlier in the year.

21 – The number of offensive rebounds by Canisius in their Saturday win over Boston University. It marked the third time this season the Golden Griffins grabbed 20 or more offensive rebounds.

22 – A new season-high of points set by Rider junior Jimmie Taylor, whose team fell by eight against a Kris Dunn-less Providence squad on the road. The Broncs have had three different players eclipse the 20-point mark in a game, but each of them did it in a different game.

Quotes of the Week:

“I thought we’d have a chance today. I thought there were some things that we’d be able to do. I wasn’t sure we could get away from them, but the way these young men played defense today, if we continue to do that, special things are happening with our program and with a defense like that, we will really do some big things.” – Monmouth head coach King Rice after their 83-68 win at Georgetown

“We just try to diversify our injuries and illnesses to keep things interesting” – Iona head coach Tim Cluess after their win over Texas Southern. The Gaels have missed senior A.J. English (hand), sophomore Schadrac Casimir (groin), senior Kelvin Amayo (knee) and freshman Rickey McGill (mono) among others for periods of time this season.

“This one feels a little more special to me just because of what happened last year. We lost on a buzzer-beater last year, so that was our whole thing this year, that was happening again. If it came down to the wire, we were going to win the game. That was our whole attitude coming into the game.” – Monmouth junior Justin Robinson after their 73-67 win at Rutgers

“I’m proud of the way our kids came through a lot of adversity, even if we didn’t get the win tonight. Hopefully this will help us down the road.” – Iona head coach Tim Cluess after their overtime loss at Rhode Island

“I think Iona proved [in 2012] that you have to present a pretty good resume to the committee, and certainly Monmouth needs to take care of business within the league, but you can position yourself with a few losses in the league and still present a pretty good resume to the committee. Particularly when you build this kind of non-conference record, but you do have to take care of business within the league.” – MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor on Monmouth’s early season start and whether or not a 20 game league schedule will hurt the Hawks

“Javion has been a very good guiding force. Javion’s kind of emerged as a guy that’s got a lot of good things to say and he’s playing at a really high level.” – Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos on junior Javion Ogunyemi

“But I thought we did a real good job, especially in the fist half, of defending and rebounding. That’s the thing I’ve been harping on with this basketball team: I mean we can score, but we need to defend and rebound.” – Canisius head coach Jim Baron after their 84-68 win over Boston University

“Coming into the season, we felt we could beat anybody. They put their stuff on just like we do. We never underestimate ourselves, and we just go into every game thinking we can win.” – Monmouth senior guard Deon Jones after their win over Rutgers on Sunday

The Monmouth Bench Tweets of the Week:

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A Rare Non-Monmouth Bench-based MAAC Tweet of the Week: Brought to you by Rider’s singing ability.

Games to Watch: Tuesday 12/22 UCSB vs Iona (Las Vegas) 3pm, Louisiana Monroe vs Canisius (Las Vegas) 5:30pm, St Bonaventure at Siena 7pm ESPN3, Wednesday 12/23 Monmouth at Cornell 7pm, Niagara at Albany 7pm, Monday 12/28 Monmouth at Army West Point 4pm

Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.

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