MAAC midpoint awards

There are 10 teams in the MAAC, and each team plays the other nine twice in league play. Nine times two is 18, and with every team having played nine games, that means everyone’s league season is at least half over.

I’m fantastic at math, I know.

What being halfway through the season really means is that it’s time for halftime awards. I’ll give you my favorite to win the MAAC, and my First Team All-MAAC at the halfway point.

Thus far through league play, Ryan Rossiter and Mike Glover are shoe-ins for the First Team. That doesn’t mean they will be shoe-ins for the real thing come March, but for the halfway point, I don’t think anyone would argue against this.

I have three spaces left to fill. The only players in my mind who have legitimate claims to the title are Derek Needham, Justin Robinson and Scott Machado.

Others can make a case, but they don’t have the connotation of “First Team All-League” just yet, not to me at least.

Anthony Nelson and George Beamon probably won’t enjoy reading this. Mike Ringgold and Nick Leon can ball, and Novar Gadson is no slouch either.

There are a handful of good players in the league who are putting up good numbers, people like Kyle Smith, Kashief Edwards, Elton Frazier and Rhamel Brown, but there’s no way they crack the league’s top-5.

I’m more of a “that guy can play, I’d want him on my team” type of observer of college basketball.  Justin Robinson might fit this description better than anyone.  He handles the ball well and always seems to come up with a clutch shot.

Scott Machado can flat-out play, and Derek Needham is one of the best scorers in the conference, not to mention he’s only a sophomore.

I’d like to say I don’t count playing on a bad team against a player, but looking at my list I guess I did. We’ll call this an isolated incident. Beamon and Nelson have the scoring numbers, but they have to be doing something wrong too if their teams are only 1-8. When you are getting blown out of games, the opponent’s defense tends to soften up a little bit.

For MAAC Champ, my pick at this point is Fairfield. I know it’s easy to pick a team with a 2.5 game lead with 9 to play, but the Stags have the intangibles I haven’t seen out of any other team yet.

It starts and ends with head coach Ed Cooley. I’d put Cooley up against any other MAAC coach with the game on the line, and what he said in the press conference last week really stood out for me.

It started with a silly question, really, asking Derek Needham if he was glad he didn’t have to face 7-foot-3 Marial Dhal in the game against Canisius. Derek took the joke, but Cooley was on another level.

Without missing a beat, he made sure to let every reporter in the room know that Fairfield “isn’t afraid of anybody,” and that no matter who the opponent is they are facing, the Stags will prevail with defense and team play.

Not even LeBron James was spared in Cooley’s rant.

How many coaches would put their team against LeBron James? Coach K, Tom Izzo… maybe.  But Ed Cooley? Bring ‘em on!

Career day for Logins lifts Griffs past Iona

Senior Greg Logins.

After losing a close game to Fairfield last Friday at the Koessler Athletic Center and falling to 2-6 in league play, the eldest members of the men’s basketball team knew they had to step up.

The Griffs’ five seniors met with head coach Tom Parrotta in his office for two hours on Saturday, where they vowed to take it upon themselves to get the team where it needs to be.

“We really had some soul-searching that we took care of,” Parrotta said. “We talked as a group with the seniors… about stepping up and doing anything we could do to push this team through.”

Greg Logins took that message to heart.

The senior forward went 6 of 7 from 3-point range on Sunday and finished with a career-high 30 points as Canisius knocked off league-leader Iona, 75-73. Logins was the first Griff to score 30 points at the KAC in almost exactly five years.

After a back-and-forth battle all afternoon, the Gaels’ Jermel Jenkins hit a 3-pointer to tie the score with 10 seconds remaining in the game. Canisius senior Julius Coles got the inbounds pass and threw it the length of the floor to a streaking Gaby Belardo, who scored the game-winning basket with less than four seconds on the clock.

“I thought they were going to foul,” Coles said. “Gaby took off and I just looked up the court and saw him.”

“Nobody was guarding me,” Belardo said. “I just kind of sprinted to the hoop.”

After being torched for 39 points in their first meeting this season, Canisius held the MAAC’s leading scorer Mike Glover to 11 points on the afternoon, and allowed him just one point in the first half. Glover managed to round out the double-double with 10 rebounds but had his worst shooting game of the season.

After trailing 4-0 early on, the Blue and Gold ripped off an 11-0 run, highlighted by a huge alley-oop from Belardo to Frazier. Frazier himself accounted for nine of the 11 points over the stretch.

Canisius was down by four at halftime, 38-34, before Logins took over. He scored seven points in the first three minutes of the second half, and finished with 22 in the period. The win marked just the ninth time out of 80 games that coach Parrotta’s teams have won after trailing at the break.

Scott Machado led Iona with 17 points, while Coles added 12 for Canisius. Eight players scored double digits in the game.

The Griffs shot 53.8 percent from the floor and had a season-high 21 assists as Frazier, Coles and Rob Goldsberry each had five apiece.

The win was the first Sunday victory for the Griffs since 2006, breaking a 24-game losing streak.

Canisius (9-10, 3-6 MAAC) looks to take this momentum into Friday night’s contest with long-time rival Niagara. The Purple Eagles sit dead last in the division at 1-8 and are 4-17 on the season. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the KAC and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.