While Iona received the good news that Iowa State transfer Tavon Sledge would be eligible immediately on Thursday, another MAAC contender wasn’t as fortunate.
The NCAA ruled that Ashton Pankey’s eligibility waiver was not granted, meaning that the Manhattan forward would have to sit out the 2012-13 season after transferring in from Maryland.
In 32 games at Maryland last season Pankey averaged just 4.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, but he had a chance to be an impact player for the Jaspers in their quest to win the MAAC.
And even though Steve Masiello’s team can still go 10 or 11 players deep as one of the favorites to win the conference, having Pankey’s waiver denied is a bitter pill to swallow.
“It’s not the news we were hoping for,” Masiello said to Sean Brennan of the NY Daily News.
“But we’re going to pursue an appeal. Obviously we were hopeful for a better outcome. But I’ve been here before while I was at other institutions where I’ve seen waivers denied and then go the other way on appeal. So it’s not over yet.”
The Jaspers return Emmy Andujar, Rhamel Brown and Roberto Colonette when it comes to key front court contributors in 2011-12, when they won 21 games in one of the biggest turnarounds in college basketball.
Sophomore Ryan McCoy averaged just over nine minutes per game in 2011-12, and the other two front court players (Adam Lacey and Shane Richards) are both freshmen.
Given the skill of Andujar, Brown and Colonette and a very good perimeter led by junior George Beamon, Manhattan will still be one of the favorites in the MAAC.
But if Pankey’s appeal is upheld the Jaspers become an even tougher out in what will be a highly competitive title race.
Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.