David Laury, Roberto Colonette and the MAAC Press Break

Photo courtesy of Iona Athletics/ Stockton Photo Inc.
Photo courtesy of Iona Athletics/ Stockton Photo Inc.

All that is good with Metro-Atlantic Athletic men’s basketball.

Iona and Manhattan to decide title Monday night

SPRINGFIELD, MA – David Laury III notched a double-double as the Iona Gaels downed the Niagara Purple Eagles, 79-73 in the semi-finals of the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament at the MassMutual Center Sunday afternoon.

In a game where neither team led by more than single digits, it was Iona’s inside play, not its guard play which made the difference.

“All different guys gave us contributions today,” said Iona head coach Tim Cluess. “The kids played their hearts out for 40 minutes. We’re fortunate to come out on top.”

Laury and front court mate, Taaj Ridley combined for 36 points including nine of the Gaels final 19 points.

“Dave came through big tonight once again. Taaj came through big tonight once again,” commented Iona guard Momo Jones. “It’s a big difference when it’s not just me and Sean (Armand). Now you can’t guard us how you usually guard us. You can’t nitpick on one thing. It opens the floor up for a lot of different things.”

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Jaspers adjust, FINALLY make it back to championship game

Springfield, Mass. — There were enormous expectations coming into this season for Manhattan and for second year head coach Steve Masiello. Last season, the Jaspers won 21 games, a 15-game improvement from the prior season.

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Manhattan overcomes bumps in the road to face arch-rival Iona

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Manhattan Jaspers were all but left for dead at the end of January.

Three straight league losses had saddled them with a 3-6 record and a seat near the bottom of the MAAC standings. George Beamon, the Jaspers’ senior guard and the conference’s leading returning scorer, was lost for the season and Ashton Pankey, the highly touted transfer from Maryland, was denied an NCAA waiver, forcing him to sit out a season as a transfer.

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All New York final in MAACachussetts

SPRINGFIELD – The MAAC’s second final at the MassMutual Center will be historic, putting two New York City teams against each other in the championship game for the first time.

The fourth-seeded Iona Gaels meet the sixth-seeded Manhattan Jaspers in a battle of New York City sized proportions. Weeks ago this matchup seemed extremely improbable.

Iona tops Canisius

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Iona College men’s basketball senior Lamont Jones and junior Sean Armand combined to score 57 points to help lead the No. 4 seeded Gaels (18-13) to a 89-85 win over No. 5 Canisius in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship quarterfinal round at the MassMutual Center. The Maroon & Gold hung on in the final moments after a late Golden Griffin (18-13) charge left the decision in doubt until the final moments. The win advances Iona to the semifinal round for the third straight season.

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Humble and talented, Laury finding his way at Iona

After transferring in and out of high schools (three to be exact), prep schools (two) and even colleges (three), Laury finally became eligible for the Gaels on Dec. 20 and played against LaSalle, notching 21 points and 14 rebounds against a possible NCAA Tournament team.

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Green and Mason lead as Niagara advances

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Juan’ya Green and Antoine Mason each finished in double figures pacing the number one seed Niagara Purple Eagles to a 74-62 triumph over the number nine seed Siena Saints in the quarter-finals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at the MassMutual Center Saturday afternoon.

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Mihalich on KenPom stats

SPRINGFIELD – Niagara head coach Joe Mihalich said hasn’t been a big believer in KenPom stats offered on his team.

“I’m not a KenPom guy,” Mihalich said. “I’m fascinated by it, but there’s just too many numbers on that screen I can’t follow them all.”

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Cline and Niagara bench come through in time of need

With his teammates playing Niagara’s match-up zone, Cline battled Anosike inside as the Saints tried to move the ball from side to side in an effort to get their teammate the ball.

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Manhattan eliminates Loyola

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. The Manhattan men’s basketball team is 40 minutes away from advancing to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship Game for the first time since 2004. The Jaspers overcame the first obstacle in their run for the program’s fourth championship as #6 Manhattan (13-17) upended the defending MAAC champion #3 Loyola (21-11) 55-52 Saturday at the MassMutual Center.

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Fairfield upsets Rider

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. Derek Needham scored 19 points and hit six straight free throws in the last minute, leading Fairfield to a 43-42 victory over Rider Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the 2013 MAAC Men’s Basketball Championship.

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Fairfield seniors leave lasting legacy

SPRINGFIELD – In the final minute two of Fairfield’s most important four-year seniors in the history of the program exited the court.

With 51.3 seconds left Colin Nickerson exited the game down 57-42 to an embrace from head coach Sydney Johnson. With 27.3 seconds remaining, perhaps the most prolific player in recent history, Derek Needham, exited the floor to an embrace from his coach that lasted almost until the final buzzer.

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Anosike, Poole power Saints to quarter-finals

Siena lives to play another day. O.D. Anosike made sure of it with a season-high 24 points as the Saints improve to 6-0 all-time in Tournament play against archrival Marist with a 70-64 win Friday night in Springfield, Mass. Siena advances to play top-seed Niagara Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals.

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All-Academic Team

Springfield, Mass. – The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced today that a total of 10 athletes comprise the 2013 MAAC Men’s Basketball All-Academic Team.

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All-MAAC awards

Springfield, Mass. Iona College senior guard Lamont Jones has been selected as the 2012-2013 Pepsi Max MAAC Player of the Year by the MAAC’s head coaches.

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Mihalich named Rock MAAC Coach of the Year

Springfield, Mass. Niagara University men’s basketball head coach Joe Mihalich has been named the 2013 The Rock MAAC Coach of the Year by his peers – the MAAC’s head coaches.

Mihalich previously was honored as the MAAC Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2005. He currently has 264 career victories, the most wins by any coach in conference history.

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Barons team up to revive Canisius

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Amid the gratification of turning around the fortunes of a struggling basketball program at Canisius, Billy Baron’s voice still cracks with a hint of emotion recalling the long consoling embrace he shared with his dad in the front seat of their car parked on the Rhode Island campus.

Jim Baron had just informed his son that he had been fired as the Rams coach. And Billy, the starting point guard, couldn’t shake the guilt of feeling partially responsible for the 7-24 finish.

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