It's been awhile since Marist defeated Manhattan in Riverdale. Last year, the Jaspers were 21-point victors, Darryl Crawford sank a floater with six ticks left to beat Jared Jordan's Marist squad in 2007, and Bobby Gonzalez's Manhattan team ran away with a double-digit victory in the 2005-'06 season.
The game started off sloppy, but both teams found their touch about five minutes in. However, Manhattan was able to maintain the hot hand throughout the rest of the first half and led 43-33 at the break.
The Red Foxes caught the Jaspers on a cold streak in the beginning of the second half and kept Manhattan close throughout the rest of the game. Marist's most talented freshman, R.J. Hall, nailed a trey with under two minutes left to tie the game at 67, but Devon Austin responded with a layup in the lane and Antoine Pearson followed with four consecutive foul shots to finish off Marist, 73-67.
Both teams played well on the offensive end tonight. Both teams shot 45 percent from the floor. Marist connected on six more three pointers than the Jaspers did, but Manhattan shot 13 more free throws.
The difference that won the game for Manhattan was rebounding. The Jaspers out-rebounded the Red Foxes, 38-19. On multiple occasions in the game, Marist seemed like they were asleep and didn't go after the ball like Manhattan did. Well, the stats show.
Despite being out-rebounded, out-hustled, and out-shot at the charity stripe, Marist was able to stay close off of the three-point shot. They were shooting 37.8 percent from deep coming into the game, but Manhattan allowed them open look after open look and the Red Foxes were able to connect on 12 of their 26 attempts from deep for a percentage of 46.2 percent.
Offensive production has been inconsistent for Manhattan. Overall hustle and foul shooting has been a problem. The one thing that has been consistent, for the worse, is Manhattan's three-point defense.
They can't allow teams to get so many open looks from the perimeter—especially in crucial situations. Dejuan Goodwin air-balled an open-corner trey that would have kept Marist's hopes alive, but, nonetheless, he was wide open.
Manhattan will need to make sure that they shut down the perimeter against Siena on Sunday. If they allow any of their shooters to get open looks, they will be in for a long afternoon.
The offense looked a little bit better tonight—there were some picks, most of them were ineffective, but it's a start. However, there was still a lot of idleness. There was a little too much NBA-style of play. Too much of "give me the ball, I'll try to beat my guy, if that doesn't work, too bad."
Chris Smith was the primary culprit, but it all goes back to Barry Rohrssen allowing his players to run an offense in that style. For some reason, Rohrssen continues to refuse to set an offense with picks and backdoor cuts.
If Manhattan wants to defeat Siena, they will need to play Siena's style of play—the style that Manhattan should play—and get out and run.
The officiating crew tonight was not the best. They let a lot of calls slide, allowing the game to be extremely physical. This led to two fights.
First, Herve Banogle fouled a Red Fox on a layup towards the end of the first half. It was hard to see, but there was a lot of pushing and shouting occurring underneath Marist's basket. In the end, Jamel Ferguson and Javon Parris were hit with technical fouls.
In the second half, Brandon Adams and Ryan Schneider dove to the floor for a loose ball. There was a lot of contact and it looked Schneider may have pushed Adams, but then Adams put Schneider in a head lock and would not let go.
The refs called a jump-ball, but Schneider wriggled out of the mess and had to be retained by half of his team. Adams walked away from the scuffle, but Schneider was livid.
Antoine Pearson scored 20 points on 5-8 from the field, 8-9 from the line, and 2-3 from deep. He also added four assists and four rebounds. It was relief to finally see Pearson shoot like he did as a freshman from the charity stripe.
Devon Austin had 13 points on 4-12 shooting. He hit one three on six attempts. It seems like the senior has a penchant for settling for the outside shot, but he is very skilled at putting the ball on the floor and getting close for a high-percentage shot. He got into the paint a few times tonight and was successful from close.
Darryl Crawford continued to showoff his improved play. The junior scored 12 points on 4-9 shooting. He also knocked down two treys and grabbed nine boards.
Seldom did the announcer say, "Count the basket for Chris Smith." However, Smith was able to contribute on the glass tonight with 10 rebounds. The sophomore added seven points on 3-9 shooting.
Andrew Gabriel was in foul trouble the entire game, but managed to score eight points in 16 minutes of action. The Jaspers were expecting more from Gabriel after it appeared that he broke out of his "slump" against Canisius with his first career double-double, but foul trouble prevented him from playing too physically.
For Marist, Ryan Schneider was extremely impressive. He's a big man who can shoot with a sweet stroke from deep. He scored a game-high 21 points on 5-10 shooting from long range.
R.J. Hall has a lot of potential for the Red Foxes. He only scored seven points and had a few key turnovers down the stretch, but he has a smooth touch from three and is an excellent lock-down defender. There were stretches when he was on Pearson and the Jaspers were unable to get the ball to their point guard because of Hall's defense.
I see Hall as a replacement for Jay Gavin, who transferred to VCU after Matt Brady left Marist. He is a reliable shooter, not as good as Gavin, but reliable nonetheless. And, he is one of the best defenders I've seen in the MAAC.
Dejuan Goodwin and Kaylen Gregory each added their fair share of points, but they were mostly on open threes that were given to them by the Manhattan defense.
Both teams have tough games coming up on Sunday. Marist hosts Niagara (13-3, 4-0) and the Jaspers host Siena (11-5, 5-0).