Monday, January 28, 2008

First Place Foxes..with Rider,Siena

The battle for the MAAC regular season championship is heating up as the Marist Red Foxes, following Sundays beat down of Canisius, are in a 3-way tie for 1st place along with Rider and Siena. All three teams are boasting a conference best 8-3 record at the moment, but the top should be a little less crowded by the end of next week.

There is no better time for the Red Foxes to make their case in the MAAC then right now. Facing Rider on Wednesday at McCann( where they are still unbeaten this season) and Siena for a home and home (Times Union on Monday and McCann on Friday), the Red Foxes are hitting stride for the harder portion of their schedule at the right time. Winners of 8 of their last 9, the Foxes are playing better basketball then anyone could have expected in the 'post-Jordan' era that has 9 new comers this season.

Sunday's beat down of weak Canisius saw the Red Foxes flex their muscles the way they have been during this winning streak. On the Offensive end the Foxes had 4 players score in double figures, featuring another solid performance from freshman Jay Gavin (MAAC rookie of the week, 5th time) and a breakout performance from my man Ryan Schiender (PoJo player of the game) who had a double-double off the bench. The Defense was again shut down, as the Red Foxes allowed only 44 points, their second lowest since 1985.

Siena is Ready

The boys up in Albany say they are ready for next weeks big battle(s) between the two MAAC rivals, first at Times Union on Monday then back at McCann on Friday. Last weeks Times Union Siena hoops blog is apparently doing their homework on Red Fox Nation reporting on this writers previous entry titled "We Want Siena."

Marist students: “We want Siena!”
January 24, 2008 at 1:37 pm by Pete Iorizzo, Staff writer

The Marist students have spoken.

According to an item in the Poughkeepsie Journal blog, Marist students chanted “We want Siena” as the Red Foxes completed an 84-65 rout of Niagara on Monday.

The Saints enter tonight’s game against Loyola in first place in the MAAC, one game ahead of Marist and Rider.

The Saints and Red Foxes meet Feb. 4 in Albany and again Feb. 8 in Poughkeepsie, which figures to deliver one of the best college-basketball atmospheres you’ll see in the MAAC all season.

True. The energy at McCann is by far the most electric and intimidating atmosphere in the MAAC....part of the reason the Red Foxes are undefeated at home. The Feb. 8 match-up will hold true to this, it is an ESPNU game and is a "white-out McCann" game.

After being crushed and embarrassed by Loyola 85-65 the Siena Saints put up another poor performance against weak Iona, where they trailed at halftime and barley scraped away with a win. Against Loyola the Saints look flat-out out of it, shooting a season low 29 % from the field while looking undisciplined throughout.

Against Rider earlier in the season the Red Foxes came away with a thrilling one-point victory beating the Broncos 81-80 on a Ryan 'Steady' Stilphen 3-point play.

Prediction: The Red Foxes stay hot at home and win vs Rider on Wednesday in a dog fight. However, a home-and-home with Siena will be tough to sweep, and the Red Foxes will split, losing in Albany and winning yet another home game in what should be a thriller at McCann.

With Rider and Siena facing off on Saturday the picture in the MAAC should be a lot clearly come next week. Next weeks standings:
Rider 10-3 Marist 10-3 Siena 9-4

Stay Tuned....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


With the game winding down and the Marist Red Foxes seconds away from defeating MAAC powerhouse Niagara, a loud roar of "We Want Siena" echoed throughout the packed bleachers of McCann. The 84-65 blow out win, moved the Red Foxes into sole possession of second place in the conference (12-7 overall; 6-2 MAAC) , trailing only the surging Saints of Siena for MAAC supremacy

With such a dominating win, that included a lock down defense and an offense that shot 50% from the field, I think its time that we change some of the low pre-season predictions for this Marist team and raise the bar of where they stand in this conference.... say right at the top with Siena? Yes, I know that it is only one win on one night, but it is important to look at who they beat and how they beat them.

Last Nights 'D'
Leading by as many as 21 and controlling the game the entire second half, the Red Foxes made Niagara look flat out inferior, similar to the beatings the Marist women's team hands out on a nightly basis. The Foxes held the nations second- leading scorer Charron Fisher (that's right, the entire nation) to a hard fought 17 points, on a terrible 4-21 shooting. It was the first time all season he was held to under 20 points for a game. In fact, as a team the Purple Eagles were held to a mere 27% shooting from the field.

Last Nights 'O'
With Louie McCroskey most likely done for the season (will get to that later) the Red Foxes wasted no time picking up the slack for their fallen teammate. As a tribute to how deep and how balanced this Red Fox team really is, Brady went with a 10 man rotation last night and it paid off big time. The Red Foxes had 5 double digit scores (led by a break out performance from Dejuan Goodwin who had 14 points on 5-6 shooting) and two others scored 9 point. One of the 9 point performances went to Ryan Schneider, who finally got out of Brady's doghouse and showed what he can really do. Schneider hit a couple of pure 3's that had all of Red Fox Nation thinking 'Will the Thrill' was back for another year. Sidenote: See "Play Ryan Schneider" a few blogs down and I'll say I told you so.

Putting last nights big time win aside, it is important to note the tear the Red Foxes have been on in recent weeks. Winners of 6 of their last 7, Marist has come together and 'rebuilt' faster then anyone has expected while continuing their dominance at home where they are undefeated for the this year. With the exception of a hard fought loss to MAAC rival Loyola, the Red Foxes in recent weeks have proven that they are legit contenders and are ready to take on SienaMAAC crown. The only problem of course is....they don't play the Saints until next month. So until then, it is important for the Foxes to continue taking care of business in the MAAC, starting with Thursday's match up with Iona.

Siena Saints
Winners of 4 straight Siena is atop of the MAAC and improved to 7-1 after last nights beating of Canisius. Siena has a very deep team and usually works with a 10 man rotation. Led by guard Kenny Hasbrouck (who lit up Marist last year in the MAAC tourney), the Saints have some serious talent that has already gotten national exposure this season. The Saints have played some top notch teams such as Memphis, Standford (who they upset) and Syracuse (who they almost upset) and are the hands down favorites to come out of the MAAC for the NCAA Tournament.

But if Marist continues to click and play the way they have been play in recent weeks, there is no telling what can happen. Remember there is still a long way to go....and come March ANYTHING can happen....ask Jared, Will and Smith.
McCroskey Done For the Year?

That's the report that is slowly coming out of coach Brady's locker room. The red-shirt senior star is said to have fractured a bone in his right ankle and is out for 4-6 weeks. It is still unknown if he will be ready for the MAAC tournament, but signs did not look good last night as McCroskey sat on the bench in his familiar street clothes.

Since joining the Red Foxes last year by way of Syracuse, McCroskey has been a bit of a disappointment. Having sat out all of last year, he missed the first 3 games of the season with an undisclosed eligibility problem and will likely miss the remainder of them. At times, the Bronx product has shown his potential (see Holiday Tournament at the Garden) but unfortunately it has all come too little too late for him. Having used up all of his eligibility, McCroskey is a senior and this is his final season in the NCAA.

At this time details are sketchy to how the injury happened and how serious it is....but for Red Fox Nation this is a serious blow...not all games will go as smoothly as last nights.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2008 Starting off Great

Happy New Year everyone (a little late I know, but I have been on vacation). The Marist Red Foxes have begun the New Year on fire and are winners of 3 straight heading into tomorrows match-up against MAAC rival St.Peters from McCann, where the Red Foxes are 4-0 this season.

Since being mired in a 3 game losing streak that included a hard fought loss to St. Johns at the Garden, the Red Foxes have played some of their best and most exciting basketball of the season.

Starting with a well balanced win against Hoftstra in MSG's Consolation game, which the potential of Louie McCroskey dominance( All-Tournament Team) had to excite fans, the Red Foxes have won a thriller against Rider and had a convincing victory over Manhattan.

While one standout performer of this win streak has been senior forward Ryan Stilphen who scored his 1,000th point (25 player in Marist history to do so) against Rider, the same game he also had a game-winning 3-point play to put the Red Foxes ahead 81-80 in the final seconds....the real standout performer has been freshman guard Jay Gavin,who at the beginning of the season Brady said could eventually become the best player in the MAAC.

Gavin who was name MAAC Rookie of the week for the third time, had monster games of 21 points against Rider and 23 points against Manhattan, a career high.

"Jay, to me, is the epitome of a gym rat," Brady told the Poughkeepsie Journal. "If you look that word up, there's his picture. He's taking 500 to 1,000 shots a day. He told me his New Year's resolution is to do that every day from now until the end of the season. I'm sure he'll double that when the offseason comes."

Gavin is averaging 17.3 points per game in Marist's last three contests. On the season, he is second on the team in scoring at 11.0 points per game, and is also second on the squad with 24 three-pointers made.

Marist will take part in the Take A Kid To The Game initiative on Friday, as all children ages 14 and under will get into the game free with a paid adult admission. The first 300 kids that enter the McCann Center will receive a mini-leather "Rock" basketball courtesy of Anaconda Sports