Manhattan To Face Fairfield In MAAC Championship Opener

Atlantic City, NJ – No. 10 Manhattan (7-12) will meet Fairfield (7-16) in the first round of the MAAC Championship for third-straight season on Tuesday, March 9 at 7:30 pm.

MAAC Championship Notes
* The Jaspers have defeated the Stags in the opening round in each of the last two years, thanks to limiting Fairfield to just 48.0 ppg.
* Additionally, the teams will meet for the 12th time in MAAC Championship play with the Stags holding a scant 6-5 edge.
* With Tuesday’s game, Manhattan will have played Fairfield more than any other MAAC school in program history, as the Jaspers have also squared off with  Siena and Saint Peter’s 11 times.
* Manhattan is 0-2, all-time, as the No. 10 seed (2011 & 1999).
* The Jaspers are 29-34 with five MAAC titles in championship play.
* Head Coach Steve Masiello has a school-record 11 MAAC Championship wins, with a school-record 61.1 winning percentage and two titles over nine previous trips to the conference tournament.
* Counting his time as an assistant, Masiello has been associated with four of the Jaspers’ five titles and 16 of their 29 conference tournament victories.
* He is also a perfect 3-0 in tournament play against Fairfield, and 3-1 in first round games.
* Over four MAAC Tournament games Williamms is registering 11.8 ppg on 64.3 percent (18-of-28) shooting.
Getting Defensive
* In Manhattan’s win over Fairfield this past Thursday, the Jaspers registered 13 steals, forced 22 turnovers and limited the Stags to just 59 points.
* In Masiello’s 10 years at the helm, the Jaspers are 63-12 (.850) when holding the opposition to less than 60 points, 48-18 (.727) when registering double-digits in steals and 29-17 (.630) when forcing at least 20 miscues
* The Green & White turned Marist over at least 20 times in each match-up, doing so in back in back-to-back games for the time since the 2018-19 season (UNC Asheville, GW).
* Manhattan leads the MAAC and is 38th nationally with a league-best 12.3 offensive rebounds per game, while also ranking among the NCAA leaders in forced turnovers (15.6/game-40th), steals (7.6 spg-58th) and scoring defense (67.7 ppg-98th).
* Fueled by their stellar defense, the Jaspers are 5-1 when limiting teams to less than 60 points, highlighted by holding the Purple Eagles to less than 60 points in each victory.

Player Quick Hits
* Buchanan was named MAAC Player of the Week after averaging 20.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 5.0 apg, 3.0 spg and 1.5 bpg over two games vs. Iona.
* In Manhattan’s 77-70 win over the Gaels in the finale, Buchanan notched career-highs with 26 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
* Williams also registered his fifth double-double of the year with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the finale at Iona, marking the first time a pair of Jaspers did so in the same game since February 2, 2018 at Siena.
* Buchanan and Nelson each reached the 20-point mark in the win over Rider, marking the first time the Jaspers had two 20-point scorers in the same game since Zavier Turner and Rich Williams did so in a 92-86 double-overtime win vs. Quinnipiac on February 25, 2018.
* Buchanan has established himself as one of the top all-around players in the league, ranking among the MAAC leaders in scoring (11.7 ppg-19th), rebounding (6.2 rpg-11th), steals (1.8 spg-2nd), blocks (1.2 bpg-7th), assist/to ratio (1.3-14th), free throw % (.704-15th) and minutes (32.5 mpg-11th).
* Junior Samba Diallo a UMass transfer, scored a season-high 14 points with eight rebounds in the opener at Iona, before going for 10 points with nine rebounds in the opener at Siena, and is averaging 9.4 ppg and 5.9 rpg while shooting 52.5 percent (21-of-40) from the floor and 81.5 percent (22-of-27) from the line over his last seven games.
* He snared a season-high 11 rebounds in the finale at Saint Peter’s, after grabbing 10 in the series-finale win over Niagara and 10 on his birthday in the finale vs. Monmouth.
* Diallo has notched double-figures on the glass three times and nine in his career, while ranking among the MAAC leaders on the glass (5.5 rpg-20th) and steals (1.2 spg-11th).
* Junior Samir Stewart scored a season-high 18 points in the finale at Saint Peter’s, and matched his career-high with five three pointers in the finale against the Peacocks.
* Stewart ranks fifth in the MAAC in steals (1.5 spg) and fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.9), and is averaging 8.8 ppg while draining at least two triples 10 times en route to converting on 31.5 percent (29-of-92) from deep.
* The Jaspers’ five junior transfers (Nick Brennen, Diallo, Jason Douglas-Stanley, Nelson and Marques Watson) are averaging 29.8 ppg and 14.5 rpg, while accounting for 46.8 percent of the team’s scoring and 40.6 percent of the rebounding.

Manhattan-Fairfield Player Notes
* Following his big weekend against Fairfield, Williams is now averaging 11.0 ppg, on 66.7 percent shooting (34-of-51), over eight career games vs. Fairfield.
* Nelson averaged 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg and 2.5 spg against the Stags, while Buchanan (10.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.0 spg) and Diallo (9.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) posted impressive numbers against the Connecticut-based school.
* Two years ago, senior Ebube Ebube scored a career-high 20 points at Fairfield en route to averaging 14.0 ppg and 6.3 rpg over three games against the Stags for the year.
* Brennen averaged 5.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg against Fairfield, while sophomore Romar Reid scored a career-high eight points in the opener and senior Ethan Lasko chipped in with six.

Trending Up
* Over his last eight games, Williams is averaging 14.4 ppg and 7.6 rpg while shooting 61.3 percent (46-of-75) from the field.
* Nelson is averaging 12.8 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.0 rpg and 1.5 spg over his last eight games.
* Over his last seven games, Buchanan is averaging 14.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.7 spg and 1.0.
* Stewart is averaging 9.8 ppg, 2.0 apg and 1.4 spg, while making good on 40.0 percent (10-of-25) from long range, over his last five games.
* In his last seven games, Diallo is averaging 9.4 ppg and 5.9 rpg, while making good on 52.5 percent (21-of-40) from the floor, and 81.5 percent (22-of-27) from the line.

Scouting Fairfield
* Richmond transfer Jake Wojcik paces the Stags in scoring at 13.6 ppg, while Taj Benning is also averaging in double-digits at 12.0 ppg, to pace an offense that is averaging a league-low 62.0 ppg.
* Fairfield, like Manhattan, is extremely successful when holding teams to less than 60 point, as the Stags are 5-0 when keeping teams from hitting the 60-point threshold.
* The Stags also lean heavily on Holy Cross transfer Caleb Green (8.3 ppg, 2.9 apg) and Jesus Cruz (8.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg).

 

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