The Manhattan men’s basketball team has established itself was one of the best squads in the MAAC conference and one of the top mid-major programs in the country. Quinnipiac obviously didn’t get the memo.
The Bobcats, who are in their first season, in the MAAC, completed a season sweep of the Jaspers with a 90-86 overtime victory Sunday afternoon at Draddy Gymnasium. Quinnipiac won the first meeting 81-76 earlier this month. It was one of just two losses in Manhattan’s last 13 games coming in. This defeat dropped the Jaspers out of first place,
“They have our number,” Manhattan coach Steve Masiello said of Quinnipiac.
Quinnipiac, one of the nation’s top rebounding teams, has been a bad matchup for the Jaspers because of their size. It out rebounded Manhattan 50-39 and limited it to just six second chance points. Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore said he tried to keep four players in the paint to clog of the lane on George Beamon and Mike Alvarado.
“We sag quiet a bit in our man and I think that gives the appearance that there is more blue shirts in the lane,” Moore said.
The Jaspers (14-5, 7-3) still had four players in double figures. Alvarado and Rhamel Brown each had 15 points. Beamon scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Shane Richards chipped in 12 points, Center Ike Azotam led Quinnipiac (11-7, 7-3) with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Zaid Heart had 25 points and 10 boards and Umar Shannon chipped in 25 points.
Masiello felt Quinnipiac exploiting matchups and an inconsistent whistle kept his team’s defense from having the effect it usually does.
“If you allow them to get their way and position and we can’t be aggressive the way we want to be and you are going to call things 80 feet from the basket, but not call them three feet from the basket, it’s very difficult for us to put our strength on the game,” Masiello said.
The Japers quickly erased a 10-point Quinnipiac lead in the second half by executing its offense and controlling the defense glass thanks to the return of Brown from first-half foul trouble to spark 11-0 run. Alvarado converted two 3-point plays and Richards buried a trey to put Manhattan ahead 71-70 with 3:50 to play in the game.
“When he is not on the court we are not as good,” Masiello said of Brown.
An Andujar bucket put Manhattan up, but Umar made two free throws after a questionable foul call on Brown to tie the score at 77-77 with 21 seconds remaining. Alvarado missed a clean look at a step back 3-pointer and Azotam stole an attempted lob to Brown with .6 seconds left to send the game to overtime. The Jaspers were within 82-80 with 2:41 remaining in overtime, but did not score again.
“They came in and took it to us the whole night,” Masiello said.