Tip-Off: Monday, February 15, 7PM @ Draddy Gymnasium, Bronx, New York
In the first meeting between Manhattan and Fairfield, the Jaspers played close with the Stags the whole way, but could not execute in the final minute and lost 88-85. Andrew Gabriel missed two wide-open layups that would have tied the game with under a minute left. Anthony Johnson dominated the game for Fairfield, scoring a career-high 27 points. Rico Pickett scored what was then a career-high with 29 points.
Manhattan (9-16, 4-11 MAAC) have surprisingly been playing fairly well recently, winning two out of their last three. In their last game, the Jaspers beat second place Iona 66-60.
Fairfield (17-8, 10-5 MAAC) has also won two out of their last three, with the one loss coming at Siena, who has the second longest home winning streak in the nation, 69-67. This game against Manhattan will be the third game of a four game road trip.
Mohammad Koita, who joined the Jaspers at the start of second semester and is averaging six points per game, left the Jaspers last game at the start of the second half with an unspecified wrist injury. It is unknown if Koita will play on Monday night.
Keys for the Fairfield Stags
Anthony Johnson Has a Repeat Performance—Anthony Johnson scored 27 points in the first meeting with the Jaspers. Manhattan is weak in the post, and this should allow Johnson to have a similar performance as long as he does not get into foul trouble.
Make Free Throws—Fairfield is an inconsistent free throw shooting team. On the season, the Stags shoot 68.7 percent from the line, but in some games, they have been absolutely horrible. In the first meeting, Fairfield made 29-of-37 free throws, including a few free throws in the final minute that iced the game.
The key for the Stags free throw shooting is Anthony Johnson. Johnson shoots 59.1 percent from the stripe on the year, but he does occasionally have games where he shoots much better. In the Stags last game against Rider, Johnson made 13-of-15 free throws. In the first meeting with Manhattan, Johnson made 7-of-11. Anthony Johnson needs to have a good game from the charity stripe so that he can have a game similar to his first against the Jaspers.
The Big 3—Derek Needham, Anthony Johnson, and Yorel Hawkins all score more than 14 points per game. In the first meeting, Johnson had a big game and Yorel Hawkins scored 19 points. Derek Needham was limited in the first half and for most of the second half, scoring only 11 points. Hawkins and Johnson need to have similar outings, and Needham needs to do better than he did in the first meeting to help Fairfield get a comfortable lead.
Keys for the Manhattan Jaspers
Balanced Scoring From Pickett and Crawford—In the first meeting against Fairfield, Rico Pickett, the MAAC's leading scorer, scored 29 points and Darryl Crawford scored 21. Manhattan needs Pickett to score, but he will also need help from Crawford. The majority of Manhattan's wins come when Crawford scored above his average.
Make the 3—Manhattan shot 2-of-13 from the field in the first meeting with Fairfield. Manhattan has the ability to make three-pointers, but it is very streaky.
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Picture credit to gojaspers.com