Saturday, December 21, 2013

ATM: First Wins For New Coaches; Big Numbers

Here's another in the news-and-notes series called "ATM," or, Around The MAAC.

- Congratulations to new conference coaches Jeff Bower at Marist and Pat Coyle at Saint Peter's for getting their respective first victories on the job this season.

The Marist men opened the season with an 0-9 record before getting their first victory, a 69-62 decision over the College of Charleston on Dec. 15. Five days later they got another one, a 69-51 victory over Bucknell, for Bower's first "winning streak," albeit a modest two-gamer.

The program got the wins despite the defection of former starting point guard Isaiah Morton, who left the school with plans to transfer elsewhere. It has left the Red Foxes with freshman Khalil Hart (last week's MAAC Rookie of the Week) and lightly used junior T.J. Curry as backcourt starters, and to no ill effect.

The Saint Peter's women started the season 0-7 before breaking through for a 72-56 decision vs. Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 11. Junior guard Antonia Smith has been leading the Peacocks, averaging 12.2 points per game so far.

Of course Coyle has won games in the MAAC before, having been the head coach at Loyola, before moving on to the WNBA, and she took the Greyhounds to two NCAA tournament appearances.

- MAAC men's performers continue to show up on the national statistical leaderboards.

Niagara's Antoine Mason continues to lead the nation in scoring at 28.6 points per game. He could become the second Purple Eagle to lead all Division I scorers. Alvin Young also did it in the 1998-99 season.

Manhattan's Rhamel Brown is No. three in blocked shots per game at 4.4, while Quinnipiac's Ike Azotam is ninth nationally in rebound average at 10.8.

A couple of former MAAC players also show up in the national top 10 statistically. Former Iona big man Chris Pelcher, now at New Hampshire, is third nationally in rebounding (11.8), while Loyola's Dylon Cormier (the Greyhounds are now in the Patriot League) is sixth in scoring at 23.6 ppg.

- Several conference women's players also figure prominently in the national statistics.

Iona's junior guard Damika Martinez averages 26.7 points per game, second-best nationally. She has led the MAAC in scoring in each of the past two seasons, the only conference player to top conference scorers as a freshman and a sophomore.

Two other Gaels are also among the national leaders. Senior post player Sabrina Jeridore leads all Division I performers in blocked shots per game (4.8), while sophomore forward Joy Adams is sixth nationally in rebound average (12.9).

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