Rider-Manhattan: Jaspers Fall to 2-1 in MAAC, Broncs Snatch First Conference Win

Jesse KramerCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2012

Even with Steve Masiello's mentor and Louisville had coach Rick Pitino in attendance, the Manhattan Jaspers could not pull out a comeback win over Rider (4-11, 1-2 MAAC) on Monday night.

Manhattan (9-6, 2-1 MAAC) defeated Rider on the road in early December, finishing off the Broncs with a 26-13 run over the final seven minutes.

However, the Broncs' trip to Riverdale had a much different outcome. The Jaspers trailed by only four points eight minutes into the game, but Rider pulled away late in the first half to take a 52-35 lead at the intermission.

The Broncs shot 6-of-11 from beyond the arc in the first half.

The Jaspers came out flat in the second half and Rider opened up a 70-46 lead at the 13:20 mark. But despite still trailing by 20 in the final ten minutes, Manhattan made one last push in front of a small, home crowd.

Senior Kidani Brutus drained a pair of three-pointers, and Manhattan got a few other buckets over the next few minutes to stay within striking distance.

After Jeff Jones of Rider threw the ball away, Roberto Colonette's dunk brought the Jaspers within ten points for the first time of the half with just under five minutes to play.

The Jaspers managed to cut the deficit to seven points on back-to-back three-pointers from George Beamon and Liam McCabe-Moran, but they could not get any closer.

With 40 seconds to play, Manhattan controlled the ball down 84-77, but McCabe-Moran's errant pass went out of bounds.

Rider then shot 4-of-4 from the foul line in the final minute while Manhattan missed a pair of desperate three-pointers.

Throughout, Rider was not intimidated by Manhattan's pressure defense.

Although the Broncs turned over the ball 22 times on Monday, they still managed to get plenty of open shots after breaking apart Manhattan's defense.

Even in the half-court offense, Rider was able to find open jump shots against Manhattan's 2-3 zone.

In addition, Manhattan's comeback was hindered by squandering opportunities to easily put points on the board.

The Jaspers missed multiple layups in addition to shooting poorly from the foul line.

Roberto Colonette shot 4-of-9 from the charity stripe, and Rhamel Brown shot 1-of-3.

Senior Novar Gadson led Rider with 21 points, six rebounds, and five assists. He shot 7-of-7 from the foul line and 2-of-2 from three-point range.

Daniel Stewart (15 points), Brandon Penn (12 points, 11 rebounds), and Anthony Myles (10 points) were the other Broncs who reached double figures.

As a team, Rider shot 58 percent from the field, 12-of-22 from beyond the arc, and 18-of-21 from the charity stripe.

The Jaspers were led by Brutus who scored 19 points and drained five three-pointers.

Leading scorer George Beamon had 13 points and five rebounds while Brown added 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting off the bench.

Sophomore Michael Alvarado struggled to score, but he managed to dish out eight assists and swipe two steals.

In addition, reigning MAAC Rookie of the Week Emmy Andujar put together another strong game with 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

If this game was a preview for Manhattan's next few games, the Jaspers are in for a miserable next two weeks.

Manhattan takes on Loyola-Maryland, Fairfield, and Iona over the next nine days. These three schools have a combined 7-1 record in the MAAC so far.