Monday, December 24, 2012

Manhattan comes up short




By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, December 24- College basketball fans in New York City were treated to the second collegiate tripleheader in eight days at the newly opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn. As on the previous Saturday, the bill featured local teams and impressive visitors.

The Manhattan College Jaspers (3-7) played its second straight game in Brooklyn and remained within the city for their third consecutive contest. They will continue to enjoy home cooking for the rest of the month as their next game is against Columbia in Manhattan before they return to the Bronx to meet Stony Brook on New Year’s Day. Their first game outside the city limits since December 7 will take place on nearby Jersey City against Saint Peter’s on January 4.

On the other hand, the South Carolina Gamecocks (8-3) traveled from their home state to face Manhattan. This was their second visit to NYC this season. In late November, South Carolina was routed by St. John’s, 89-65, in Jamaica, Queens. Its visit to Brooklyn on December 22 was far more successful.

The scoring began with a field goal and free throw by Donovan Kates of the Jaspers. Manhattan missed its next four attempts from the floor as the Gamecocks netted 11 unanswered points to take an 11-3 advantage, its largest of the first half. The Jaspers immediately followed with a 15-5 scoring run to move in front, 18-16. The score was knotted for the fifth and final time in the first half with 2:42 left on a dunk by Rhamel Brown of the Jaspers. The half ended with South Carolina leading by a score of 36-30 after they closed the half on a 9-3 scoring run.

Manhattan began the second half with great energy. Its 11-2 start gave the Jaspers a 41-38 advantage at 14:04. Ten straight points by the Gamecocks ended the final Manhattan advantage mid-way through the second half. A three by South Carolina’s leading scorer of the contest, Brenton Williams, raised the spread to double figures for the first time in the game with 4:59 on the clock.

Both coaches attributed the result to the difference in rebounding between the clubs. Steve Masiello said clearly, “I think the difference in the game tonight was the backboards.” Carolina’s first year coach, Frank Martin, stated, “There’s one thing we did well during the year and that’s rebound. ‘Rebounds win games’ I fully believe that.” Manhattan was out rebounded, 42-23, and on the offensive boards by 19-10.

Another factor not mentioned by either coach in the post-game press conferences was the poor free throw shooting by Rhamel Brown. He missed eight of ten free throws. In every other facet, brown played an excellent game. He scored 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting from the floor, grabbed 9 boards, blocked 3 shots and stole the ball 4 times.

One surprise to most Manhattan fans but not to the coach was the performance of freshman Shane Richards. The frosh, averaging less than two points per game, sunk 6 of 11 shots from beyond the three point range to net a career high 18 points. Coach Masiello commented, “That’s what I see every day [in practice]. That’s why I recruited him.”

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