Steve Masiello

Manhattan’s Steve Masiello says ‘[MAAC] is not a one-bid league’ after win over Iona

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Emmy Andujar had a career night, scoring 28 points, grabbing six rebounds, dishing out three assists and coming away with three steals in Manhattan’s big MAAC 80-77 overtime win against regular season champion Iona on Friday night.

Andujar went coast-to-coast at the end of regulation, but was denied by the rim as the Jaspers and Gaels geared up for five more minutes in front of a raucous Draddy Gymnasium crowd.

He came up big in overtime, using a hesitation move to glide along the baseline, putting Manhattan up 80-75 with 24 seconds remaining as Iona elected to play defense instead of fouling. A.J. English got it to a one-possession game moments later. After George Beamon’s missed free throw opened the door for a game-tying three, English came up short. Rhamel Brown missed both free throws, but time expired on the second miss.

Last season, Manhattan and Iona met in Springfield in the MAAC tournament title game, as the Nos. 6 and 4 seeds, respectively. This year, they are the top two teams in the league followed by newcomer Quinnipiac trailing regular season champion Iona by two games.

The MAAC got two bids in the 2012 NCAA Tournament with Loyola (Md.) getting the automatic bid while Iona was slotted as a No. 13 seed in First Four game against BYU.

Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello, who was one win away from the NCAA tournament last season, believes his league deserves multiple bids in 2014.

“This is not a one-bid league,” he said in the post game press conference. “A seventh-place team in a BCS conference is better than these three? I don’t buy it.

“These four teams at the top of the MAAC, you put them in a 13/4 game, that four seed is in trouble,” he continued.

Iona’s RPI is 73. Manhattan’s is 92. Kenpom has the Gaels rated 74 while the Jaspers are ahead of them by a spot in those rankings. It remains to be seen as to whether or not two teams get into the Big Dance. But one thing is certain: if Friday night was an indication of what next week’s conference tournament will look like, the MassMutual Center will be the site to several great games leading up to Selection Sunday.

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.