Manhattan and Iona had yet another close, hard-fought game in their first meeting of the year. The Gaels won 56-53 as a Manhattan comeback fell short.
Since then, Manhattan (8-16, 3-11 MAAC) has continued to lose, dropping into ninth place in the MAAC. Iona (18-7, 10-4) has won nine out of 10, on their way to second place. The Gaels are beginning to look like a NIT team.
This coming game should be fairly easy for the Gaels, considering that Manhattan has really struggled recently, especially on the road.
Keys for the Iona Gaels
Get Alejo Rodriguez Involved—Alejo Rodriguez is averaging nine points and seven rebounds per game. He has had his best games against teams who do not have great big men. Manhattan does not have great big men. In their first meeting, Rodriguez was in foul trouble, and his playing time was limited.
If Rodriguez can stay out of foul trouble, his addition will really help the Gaels get a lead.
Take and Make the 3—Iona has multiple three-point shooters. Trinity Fields leads the Gaels in percentage (46.2 percent), and Kyle Smyth leads the team in three-pointers made with 41. Smyth shoots (40.7 percent).
Jermel Jenkins, Jonathan Huffman, Scott Machado, Rashon Dwight, Rashard McGill and Milan Prodanovic all shoot over 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Keys for the Manhattan Jaspers
Make Free Throws Down the Stretch—Manhattan has struggled to hit their free throws in close games down the stretch. If the game stays close in the final two minutes, Manhattan needs to hit free throws to stay in the game.
Put the Ball in the Right Player's Hands—Manhattan's worst execution comes when the ball is in the hands of the wrong person. Rico Pickett and Darryl Crawford are the best creators on offense, and Djibril Coulibaly might be staring to turn into a potential threat in the post. When Antoine Pearson is in the game, he has the ability to create off the dribble. Manhattan needs to trust these guys to score the majority of their points.
Scoring Leader—Scott Machado (12.5)
Rebounding Leader—Alejo Rodriguez (7.3)
Assists Leader—Scott Machado (4.0)
Scoring Leader—Rico Pickett (17.5)
Rebounding Leader—Darryl Crawford (6.0)
Assists Leader—Darryl Crawford (2.2)
To see about some of the history of the Manhattan vs. Iona rivalry, click here .
Tip-Off: Friday, Feb. 12, 7:30 PM