Tuesday, April 9, 2013

MAAC's Presence is Prominent on National Scene

John Beilein couldn't quite outdo Paul Hewitt. He could only join Hewitt as former MAAC men's coaches who have made it to college basketball's championship game.

But, like Hewitt whose Georgia Tech team  lost to UConn in the 20044 title contest, Beilein's Michigan team couldn't get past Louisville in Monday's final game of this year's event.

Hewitt coached at Siena for three years (1997-98 through 1999-00), while Beilein began his Division i career at Canisius where he coached five seasons (1992-93 through 1996-97).

Those weren't the only MAAC connections to make some memorable accomplishments this season.

Siena's 6-foot-8 forward O.D. Anosike became the sixth player to lead all Division I players nationally in rebounding for two straight seasons.

Anosike averaged 11.4 rebounds per game, just slightly ahead of the 11.2 per-game average of Colorado's Andre Roberson, and became just the second MAAC player to be the national rebound leader. Former Fairfield standout Darren Phillip led in the 1999-00 season.

Anosike also led the nation in rebounds last year when he averaged 12.5 per contest.

Others who have won back-to-back rebound titles since the NCAA began keeping track in 1950 are Leroy Ellis (1958-59, 1959-60), Jerry Lucas (1960-61, 1961-62), Artis Gilmore (1969-70, 1970-71), Kermit Washington (1971-72, 1972-73) and Paul Milsap, a three-time rebound champ (2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-060.

Iona's Momo Jones finished third nationally in scoring average at 22.6 per contest, and teammate Sean Armand finished sixth in made three-pointers per game (3.29) and eighth in free-throw percentage (88.8).

Manhattan's Rhamel Brown finished 10th in blocked shots (2.97).

In team statistics, Iona finished first nationally in points per game (80.6), Niagara was ninth in turnover margin (committing 4.3 fewer per game than opponents), Canisius was third in made three pointers per game (9.2), and Rider was sixth in three-point percentage defense (28.8).

On the women's side, Iona had two players to rank in the top 10 nationally in a statistical category. Guard Damika Martinez's three-point shooting percentage of 42.2 was eighth nationally, while Sabrina Jeridore ranked seventh in blocked shots (3.09).

Marist was fifth nationally in free-throw percentage (79.1), Iona was eighth in three-point shooting percentage (37.2), Marist was eighth in fewest fouls committed (12.4), while Fairfield was eighth in that statistic (12.5).

One more game tonight with a MAAC connection, the women's championship game that has former Siena men's assistant coach Cameron Newbauer on the sidelines as an assistant coach for the Louisville women's team.

After that, it's the off season and, then, six more months until the official start of practice for the 2013-14 season.

That can't get here fast enough.

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