NYC Metro Update: Stony Brook Can Clinch America East

February 24th, 2010
Weekly Honors (announced on Sunday or Monday)

Atlantic 10: Fordham freshman forward Chris Gaston was named to the league's Honor Roll on Sunday, averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds per game in the Rams' two contests.

Big East: A pair of Scarlet Knights were honored on Monday with Dane Miller winning his third consecutive Rookie of the Week award and Hamady Ndiaye being named to the Honor Roll. Miller averaged 12.5 points and 8.0 rebounds while Ndiaye added 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in Rutgers' 1-1 week.

Ivy: The following three area players were named to the Ivy League Honor Roll on Tuesday: Columbia's Norwua Agho (12.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg), Princeton's Dan Mavraides (17.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Yale's Alex Zampier (15.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg).

MAAC: A pair of area players were honored by the MAAC. Rider's Ryan Thompson won Player of the Week, averaging 29.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the Broncs' 1-1 week. And the Rookie of the Week award once again went to Fairfield...but it wasn't Derek Needham. Colin Nickerson shot 65% from the field and averaged 16.5 ppg in Fairfield's 1-1 week.

Northeast: LIU senior guard Jaytornah Wisseh was named Choice Hotels Player of the Week for his role in leading the Blackbirds to a pair of wins and an NEC Tournament berth. Wisseh averaged 24.0 ppg, 7.5 apg, 5.5 rpg and 2.0 spg in the two victories.

Wednesday's Schedule

7p Vermont at Stony Brook (MSG+)
By far the game of the night in the metropolitan area, Steve Pikiell's Seawolves can lock up their first-ever America East title with a win over the Catamounts. Stony Brook's won nine straight, including a 65-60 win in Burlington back on January 21st. Bryan Dougher scored twenty points while Chris Martin added thirteen (all in the second half), and a 13-2 run in the second stanza gave the Seawolves a double-digit lead that provided enough breathing room to get them the win. The Catamounts shot just 39.6% from the field in that contest with leading scorer Marqus Blakely (17 pts, 11 reb) and Evan Fjeld (13 pts, 10 reb) both posting double-doubles. The problem for Vermont, in addition to their overall shooting, was Maurice Joseph making just two of eleven shots from the field.

Outside of the five points and three rebounds the Michigan State transfer failed to have a noticeable impact; if Stony Brook can limit him again then a lot more scoring responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Blakely. Muhammad El-Amin, whose jumper with 1.8 seconds left gave the Seawolves a 68-66 win at Albany on Friday, scored thirteen in the first meeting and has scored sixteen points or more in each of SBU's last six games. But Stony Brook must rebound; UVM won the battle on the boards 37-25 yet lost because of poor shooting from three (2-16) and the charity stripe (16-28). Don't expect a repeat of those numbers tonight in front of a sold-out crowd at Pritchard. Will history be made on the Island?

7p St. Bonaventure at Fordham
With three games left in the regular season the Rams will need a miracle to qualify for the Atlantic 10 Tournament. But that doesn't mean they can't be a spoiler, especially with the visiting Bonnies just one game above the cut line. Andrew Nicholson is one of the best big men in the Atlantic 10, and he will provide a solid test for freshman Chris Gaston. But if the Rams are to be competitive tonight they cannot repeat what happened in the first meeting on February 10th. Assist to turnover ratio is typically a good indicator of why a game goes a particular way, and when you rack up fifteen turnovers to just two assists you're not winning. The Bonnies on the other hand had eighteen assists and three turnovers; Brenton Butler and company must perform better in regards to taking care of the basketball tonight. They aren't big in the assists area, averaging just over nine per game, but when you add to that reckless ballhandling you're going to lose far more than you'll win.

7:30p Marquette at St. John's (MSG)
It's Senior Night at Carnesecca Arena with Anthony Mason Jr. and John Taubeneck being honored before the game. But it's also a key game for the visiting Golden Eagles in regards to a possible NCAA Tournament bid; Marquette looks to be a solid bet for the NCAA Tournament right now but a loss in a game like this could bump them back onto the bubble. Lazar Hayward and Jimmy Butler make up one of the better forward tandems in the Big East, and Marquette has also received better play from guards David Cubillan and Maurice Acker in recent games. The Red Storm will need Malik Boothe and Malik Stith to "win" the battle at the point if they're to entertain thoughts of winning.

Can D.J. Kennedy, Paris Horne, Dwight Hardy and Mason Jr. score points on the perimeter and in the mid-range game? The question isn't so much whether or not they can but rather whether or not the perimeter can be consistent offensively for forty minutes. The Red Storm usually do a good job for the first thirty minutes or so but when it's time to get a key basket late they often come up short. And against a team like Marquette that features a player like Hayward that could be a recipe for disaster. If St. John's can play efficiently on offense they've got a shot, but if they can't put points on the board late they'll likely drop another one.

Thursday's Games

7p South Dakota at NJIT
7p Robert Morris at Wagner
7:30p LIU at Central Connecticut St
7:30p Monmouth at Quinnipiac
7:30p SFNY at Bryant
7:45p FDU at Sacred Heart

Friday's Games

7p Yale at Dartmouth
7p Penn at Columbia
7p Princeton at Cornell
7p Siena at Rider (ESPNU)
7:30p Saint Peter's at Fairfield
7:30p Iona at Fairfield
7:30p Niagara at Manhattan

Tuesday's Happenings

- Seton Hall defends The Rock, knocks off Rutgers
The Pirates got off to a fast start in the first of two meetings between the Garden State rivals, leading by fifteen at the half and ultimately winning 76-70. The win moves them into a tie for eighth place in the Big East with Connecticut, and that's an important spot since the team that finishes eighth receives the final bye in the Big East Tournament. Jeremy Hazell led the way with 25 points while three other Pirates also reached double figures. Dane Miller finished with 16 points and nine reboundswhile Hamady Nidaye and Jonathan Mitchell both posted double-doubles. Mike Rosario led the Scarlet Knights with seventeen but the Hall did a good job of making him work for it as he made just seven of twenty from the field.

The key in the rematch on March 4th? Tempo. For some reason Rutgers began the game looking to run with the Pirates and play their sometimes-ragged style. Bad idea. Look for Rutgers to play more of a half-court game at the RAC, and if they don't then something's wrong. As for the Pirates, the issue of a "killer instinct" came up again. Of course you expect Rutgers to make a run at some point but while there was little doubt in the outcome they have to do a better job of cutting the runs of opposing teams short. Rutgers also won the rebounding battle 45-35; after Herb Pope (12 rebounds) the next leading rebounder on the night was Keon Lawrence (five rebounds). Jeff Robinson will need to increase his rebounding in the rematch as well as the remainder of the season due to Seton Hall's lack of big men.

- Hofstra knocks off Northeastern in Boston and could be a team to keep an eye on at the CAA Tournament.
Charles Jenkins led four Hofstra players in double figures with 20 points as Tom Pecora's squad picked up their eighth win in the last nine games (five straight). Hofstra shot 49.1% from the field for the game and also outrebounded the Huskies 37-25. Nkem Ojougboh led Northeastern with 15 points and seven rebounds but they were unable to deal with Halil Kanacevic, who posted a double-double (16 pts, 11 reb) off the bench. Keep an eye on Hofstra at the CAA Tournament next weekend; they'll most likely be the seventh seed but with their freshmen rounding into form and a guard who can take over a game in Jenkins this is a dangerous outfit.

- NJIT falls at North Dakota.
Patrick Mitchell hit ten three pointers and scored 33 points as the Fighting Sioux knocked off the visiting Highlanders. Chris Flores led the way for Jim Engles' team with 25 points and five rebounds but NJIT was little match for UND on a night in which they shot 64% (16-25) from behind the arc. And with the two teams meeting in Newark on the 27th it should be noted that three players were tossed due to a scuffle with just over two minutes left in the game. Hopefully there won't be a carryover but you never know.