James’ All-MAAC season continues in win over Marist

By Matthew LoPuzzo

The Broncs extend their winning streak to four games with a win against the Marist Red Foxes 68-52. This could be attributed to another key performance from senior forward Mervin James who’s having an All-MAAC season.

James posted 13 points and five boards against the Red Foxes, having to do it on both ends to guide the Broncs to double-digit victory. 

The senior forward is putting together an All-MAAC season averaging 13.2 points per game and 6.9 rebounds at a near 50% from the field. The Broncs were trailing by 14 points in the early going, but the contributions from sophomore guard Adetokunbo Bakare and junior guard Corey McKeithan pulled the Broncs back to even.

James has a real knack for knowing where to be to get buckets. Position and footwork are two important aspects to being a really good post scorer and James has some very clean footwork to go along with outstanding positioning. 

Eight of James’ 13 points came in the second half after the Broncs went into the locker room down 30-29. But a more impressive task was holding Marist senior center Patrick Gardner to 6-of-12 shooting who’s currently second in the MAAC in points per game at 18.3. 

James was able to use his frame and positioning to lock down the near 7-footer, making him take contested shots the whole night and having him earn every bit of his 15 points.   

James has had opposing players on full lockdown the whole season. When guarded by James, opponents have shot 28%, according to data from Synergy Sports.

When asked about how important it is having an All-MAAC season, James downplayed it and said it’s really because the team is starting to gel, “We are starting to do everything together as a team, like I always thought we would.”

When Head Coach Kevin Baggett was asked about if James was having an All-MAAC season he stated, “Absolutely man. And Mervin will tell you last year I was on him early. I think it was just an adjustment period.” 

Last season, James averaged 3.5 fouls per game and was benched because of foul trouble, this season he dropped it down to 3.1 and can get more minutes in the late stretches in the game. The best skill you can give your team is always availability. 

When the MAAC committee eventually talks about who the All-MAAC teams are gonna consist of, James should be at the top of that list. 

The numbers on paper might not jump off the page, but James does the small things all around, whether it be boxing out larger forwards for rebound or setting screens on defenders that make them stuck like cement. 

James and the Broncs scared away the Red Foxes with their largest point differential win in MAAC play. March could be shaping up to be a spectacular time in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

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