The Manhattan Jaspers gave the few fans that showed up on Saturday something to cheer about in a 78-62 rout of Towson. The Jaspers are now 3-4 all-time in Bracket Busters. This is the first time Manhattan has won a Bracket Buster game at home.
Manhattan (10-17, 4-12 MAAC) started the game on a 20-0 run and from that point on, Towson (7-20, 4-12 CAA) had no chance. Towson could not come close to hitting a shot for the first 9:42. On a bunch of possessions, Towson just turned the ball over without Manhattan applying any pressure.
After Manhattan went up 4-0 on an Andrew Gabriel jumper, Towson brought the ball up the court and Calvin Lee had the ball on the left wing. Without any Manhattan player pressuring him, Lee put the ball on the floor, not even trying to make any move to the basket, and was called for traveling.
With Manhattan up 6-0, Darryl Crawford missed a three-pointer. Lee got the rebound and held the ball as the Jaspers ran back to play defense. With no defender within at least 30 feet, Lee simply walked with the ball. He might have tripped over his own feet or the player he was going to pass to might not have been paying attention and Lee hesitated to pass and shuffled his feet. It is not for me to say, but regardless it is unacceptable.
Towson continued to commit unforced turnovers, such as players dribbling the ball of their foot while bringing the ball up the court.
Manhattan capped its 20-0 run on a Gabriel layup with 11:43 remaining. The way that Towson was playing, the thought of a shutout actually seemed possible.
On the next possession, Crawford committed a shooting foul and Isaiah Philmore went to the line. He missed the first free throw and the rowdy Manhattan students laughed. Philmore stepped back to the line and made the second free throw to break the shutout.
Towson would not make its first field goal until the 10:18 mark in the first half on a Lee jumper.
Following the jump shot by Lee, Towson started playing a little better and even cut the lead as low as 29-18. Towson kept the game in reach for a second half comeback, trailing 33-21 at halftime.
Things were not looking good for Towson to start the second half. Manhattan quickly stretched its lead to 47-26, its largest of the game.
Towson still had some fight in it and cut the lead back to 66-54 on Troy Franklin free throws with 4:30 remaining. Manhattan responded with an 8-0 run.
Brandon Adams started the run with a layup. After a Franklin turnover, Adams was found open under the basket for a two-handed dunk. After another Franklin turnover, Patrick Bouli found Rico Pickett for a fastbreak layup. On the ensuing possession, Lee turned the ball over. Pickett threw up a pass from just in front of the mid-court line and Crawford slammed it home for an alley-oop to put the game away.
George Beamon's buzzer-beater layup, which was assisted by walk-on Victor Jackson for his first assist of the season, made the final score 78-62 in what was most likely Manhattan's best outing of the season.
RaShawn Polk led Towson with 16 points. Polk shot 7-of-12 from the field.
Philmore scored 11 points, while Lee and Franklin each scored 10 points. Lee shot 5-of-6 from the field and had four rebounds.
I guess that the one positive thing for Towson in this game was that it shot pretty well from the free throw line, making 11-of-15.
Adams set a career-high in scoring with 18 points, while Gabriel tied his season-high with 13 points. Adams shot 8-of-19 from the field and Gabriel shot 6-of-9. Adams had eight rebounds to lead the team and Gabriel grabbed seven rebounds.
Pickett had another solid performance with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He set a season-high with five assists. Pickett remains the leading scorer in the MAAC at 17.8 points per game.
Bouli had a good game with nine points, five rebounds, and five assists. Bouli did take a couple of bad shots throughout the game.
Crawford had a very good game with 13 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
As a team, the Jaspers had 22 assists.
Manhattan remains at home for senior night with a game against Niagara (16-13, 8-8) on Friday night. Niagara is riding a three-game winning streak. The opening tip is will be at 7:30.