The Manhattan Jaspers carry five seniors. All of them entered the program with Barry Rohrssen as freshman—hopefully when they graduate and leave, Rohrssen will leave with them.
On a warm winter afternoon, about 1000 Manhattan fans entered Draddy Gymnasium hoping that they would see their team end some recent woes in conference play against the Canisius Golden Griffins. From the start, there was only disappointment.
Manhattan (7-10, 2-5 MAAC) quickly fell down 12-4, with their first field goal coming nearly four minutes into the game.
Canisius (9-9, 4-3 MAAC) would not let up. Tomas Vazquez-Simmons hit a three-pointer to give the Golden Griffins a 32-10 lead with 8:17 remaining.
Manhattan kept making small pushes to trim the lead, cutting the lead to as low as 11. Canisius would score the final five points in the half and take a 39-23 lead.
However, the Jaspers would not give up. Manhattan opened the second half on an 22-4 run, taking the lead with the score 45-44.
Manhattan pushed their lead up to four points on an Andrew Gabriel layup with 3:41 left. Unfortunately for the Jaspers, after taking a 56-52 lead, they would miss their final five shots in regulation.
Tomas Vazquez-Simmons hit two free throws with 27 seconds remaining in regulation to knot the game at 56-56.
Canisius took a timeout following the free throws. The Jaspers assembled around Coach Barry Rohrssen in the timeout. This would be a good time for Rohrssen to draw up a play to get a good shot and cap off a great comeback, right? Too bad.
The Jaspers walked up the court and swung the ball around the arc. With eight seconds left the ball went into the hands of Rico Pickett at the top of the arc. Pickett stepped inside the three-point line and went up for a shot. In the act, he was stripped. Pickett managed to get the ball back and put up a fade away jump shot before the buzzer sounded, but it hit off the rim and bounced out. The game went into overtime with the score at 56-56.
Canisius won the tip to start overtime. On their first possession, Laurence Jolicoeur committed a foul and Elton Frazier hit one of two free throws.
Darryl Crawford hit a layup for the Jaspers, and then Frazier responded with a second chance layup for the Golden Griffins, giving Canisius a one-point lead.
Brandon Adams made one of two free throws with 2:21 left to tie the game, 59-59. A turnover by Greg Logins put the ball in the hands of the Jaspers. With the shot clock winding down, Rico Pickett hit a jumper with his foot on the three-point line to give the Jaspers a 61-59 advantage.
Rico Pickett was called for a foul under the basket with 1:01 left, sending Frank Turner to the foul line. Turner would hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to one point. The Jaspers ran the shot clock down on the ensuing possession. Rico Pickett controlled the ball and air-balled a three-pointer from the right wing. Brandon Adams tried to save the ball, but he stepped out of bounds in the act.
The Jaspers played strong defense on the next possession, but it was not good enough. Julius Coles hit a contested three-pointer with six seconds remaining.
Barry Rohrssen signaled for a timeout.
The Jaspers spent about three minutes huddled around Rohrssen. Any fan would assume that Rohrssen would be using this time to draw up some sort of play that would give Manhattan a good look to tie or win.
The Jaspers came out of the timeout with Patrick Bouli, Rico Pickett, Darryl Crawford, Brandon Adams, and Andrew Gabriel.
Where was Antoine Pearson? Patrick Bouli is a defensive specialist and rarely adds anything to the offense. Pearson might be the only player on Manhattan that has the ability to create on his own.
After the two minute mark in regulation, Antoine Pearson did not appear for the Jaspers. Pearson has had limited playing time due to asthma, but it did not appear that there was anything wrong with him. After seven minutes of rest, I would think that Pearson would be able to play for six seconds.
Pearson has always had the ability to create, especially at the end of the game. Pearson has hit three game-winning shots in his career. Pearson has hit two buzzer-beater jump shots against St. Peter's, and a game-winning layup against Morgan State with six seconds left. If this next piece helps my argument for bringing in Pearson at the end of the game, all three of his game-winning shots have come at home.
Back at the ranch...
After all that time spent in the huddle, the Jaspers inbounded to Rico Pickett who dribbled up the court and passed to Darryl Crawford on the right wing with about three seconds remaining.
Crawford took two dribbles inside the three-point line and threw up a double-teamed shot while leaning in. Crawford's shot hit off the rim and rolled out.
Game over: Canisius 63, Manhattan 61
Manhattan fans cried out in disappointment as they filed towards the exit. It is truly amazing that no "Fire Barry" chants arose from the Manhattan fans throughout this game.
Julius Coles lead the Golden Griffins with 15 points. Coles also grabbed six rebounds.
Tomas Vazquez-Simmons recorded his first double-double of the year with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Elton Frazier and Frank Turner each scored 12 points. Frazier grabbed eight rebounds and blocked one shot. Turner compiled seven assists, but turned the ball over five times.
Canisius made 5-of-12 three-pointers in the first half, but missed all five of their attempts in the second half. They attempted one three in overtime, and it went in as the game-winner.
Rico Pickett and Darryl Crawford led the Jaspers with 16 points apiece. Pickett shot 7-of-23 from the field. Crawford made 8-of-10 free throws.
Antoine Pearson scored seven points in 21 minutes.
Laurence Jolicoeur scored six points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Brandon Adams scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds. Adams refrained from fouling out for the first time since January 4.
Manhattan did not hit one three on Saturday, finishing 0-of-12.
Manhattan managed to only turn the ball over seven times.
The Jaspers defense was below par in the first half, although they stepped up a little in the second half. Canisius made 15-of-31 shots in the first half, but only made 4-of-19 in the second half. The Jaspers forced eight steals on the defensive end, forcing 15 turnovers in all.
Canisius won the rebounding battle, 43-38.
Manhattan outscored Canisius 26-24 in the paint and 9-6 on points off turnovers. The Jaspers also managed to outscore Canisius 15-8 on second chance points. There were no fast break points scored for either team and 14-5 on points off the bench.
Canisius plays next on Monday afternoon at Fairfield (12-5, 5-2 MAAC).
Manhattan's next game is Monday night at Siena (14-4, 7-0 MAAC).
Picture from gojaspers.com
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