Sunday, January 14, 2007

Greetings from New Rochelle

As Mike Francessa and Chris Russo pointed out last week on the Mike and the Maddog show, there might be a few empty seats today at the Hynes Athletic Center, seeing as the Stags and Gaels are up against the NFL playoffs. Right now, there's about five minutes left in the Iona-Manhattan women's game, I counted 272 people in the stands, four of whom have instruments in their hands.

I'm not sure who the musicians are because they're not students (and thus, probably not an undergraduate Gaels band) and also, they're not playing their instruments.

We'll see how the place fills up for the men's game.

A few notables:

1. WVOF sports director Mike Vitale, who's once again serving as Bob Heussler's color analyst on the Stags' radio network (yours truly had that gig for Friday's game), didn't have a long commute to get here. He's a New Rochelle native and played high school hoops at Iona Prep.

2. Remember the first six games of the season, when players, coaches, repoters, fans, and anyone else who had been to a Stags game was raving about how special Greg Nero was? It'll be interesting to see if that talk picks up again after this game. After scoring a total of 14 points over a five game span heading into last Saturday's game at Manhattan, he's scored in double figures in three straight games, and led the Stags with 14 points in Friday's loss. Friday was the first time since the Central Arkansas game on Nov. 19 that he led the Stags in scoring.

3. More on the milestone watch for Mike Van Schaick: Shake hit four more three-pointers against Rider, and now has 120 for his career. If he hits four today, he'll pass Michael Bell (2003-06) and Kevin George (1989-93) for fourth place on the Stags' all-time three-point shooting list.

4. The Stags would hate to lose this game, seeing as Iona is 0-15 overall and starting to draw all sorts of negative attention around the region for its inablity to beat anyone. The Gaels had a 59-57 lead with four minutes to play but couldn't hang on and lost to Manhattan. You can bet everyone in Fairfield was rooting for Iona to win that game....Ed Cooley quipped after Friday's game that Iona is probably looking forward to playing the Stags.

5. Gotta throw in a little bit of self promotion, so here it goes: be sure to check out tomorrow's game story in the Stamford Advocate in addition to The Mirror's main page and the blog. I'm hittin' the road after the game so I can catch the end of the Pats-Chargers game, but I'll throw up a post with a few post-game notes before I head out, then write more in-depth later on tonight.

- Ben Doody

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