Barry Rohrssen was 20 minutes away from saving his job in the 2010-11 Manhattan season, with his Jaspers leading Siena 40-36 at halftime in the MAAC Quarterfinals.
Manhattan (11-20, 4-14 MAAC) came out strong in the first half. Darryl Crawford scored the first seven points for the Jaspers, and then a steal lead to a breakaway slam for Rico Pickett. Alex Franklin's slamback with 16:48 left gave Siena (25-6, 17-1) its first points.
It looked like Siena was quickly back on the horse, cutting the lead to 9-4. Manhattan came back with the next seven points to take a 16-4 lead.
Alex Franklin dominated the first half to keep the Saints close, scoring 17 points in the first 20 minutes.
Owen Wignot hit his second three-pointer of the game to cut the Jasper lead to 32-31 with 3:22 left. Antoine Pearson responded with a three-pointer of his own.
After Wignot turned the ball on the ensuing possession, Rico Pickett got another chance at a breakaway dunk. Pickett looked over to the Siena bench as he came inside the foul and smiled, sticking his tongue out. Pickett then rose up for a backwards dunk, firing up the Manhattan squad.
Patrick Bouli made a three-pointer a minute later to give Manhattan a 40-31 lead. Franklin came back with five points in the final 1:08 to cut the Jasper to lead 40-36 at intermission.
Manhattan surprisingly came out with a lot of energy in the second half. After a couple of minutes, Clarence Jackson, who was held scoreless in the first half, found some room and scored eight points in a 12-2 Siena run. The run was capped by a Jackson three-pointer, giving the Saints their first lead of the game, 48-46.
The Jaspers did not let the game get away from them, staying within 54-52 with 9:53 remaining. An 8-0 run by Siena put the Saints in the driver's seat with a 62-52 lead.
Manhattan unraveled in the final few minutes, with Siena taking its largest lead of the game on a Just-in'love Smith three-pointer with 39 seconds left.
The buzzer sounded with the scoreboard reading 78-61. The Saints move on to the semifinals to play No. 4 Rider, while the Jaspers end a miserable season with their 20th loss.
Fran McCaffery made a questionable move after pulling his starters in the final minute. There was plenty of jawing and shoving during the game and McCaffery thought that it would be best to send his starters to the locker room before the end of the game when they would shake hands with Manhattan players.
McCaffery really should have just let his players quickly shake hands with Manhattan and then run to the locker room before anything else could happen.
Hopefully, with this loss the Barry Rohrssen era will come to an end. After four years with the Jaspers, Rohrssen's worst year came in 2009-10. Rohrssen showed poor coaching once more on Saturday and he is simply not a winner.
As usual, Rohrssen was horrible with substitutions. Djibril Coulibaly did not deserve to play at all. Coulibaly should have had at least five rebounds, but due to his inability to grab a basketball, he only had one. Coulibaly let Siena get a lot of second chance opportunities.
Also, Antoine Pearson had a very good first half and was helping the offense move well. Pearson was absent for a lot of the second half.
Manhattan had no idea what it was doing when it had to execute in the final 10 minutes. The Jaspers did not have a plan to get a good look at the basket. If the Jaspers worked for good shots, they would have still had a chance down the stretch.
Although I feel like a real complainer for saying this, the officiating heavily favored Siena in this game. Everybody knows that the MAAC wants Siena to win because it would be best for the conference. However, the referees were so biased that it really threw the game off.
Every time Manhattan grazed a Siena player, the whistle was blown. At one point Crawford went up for a layup and was pulled down by his jersey. Crawford hit the floor and waited to hear a whistle. No whistle was blown—this was just one of many examples similar to this.
If there had been better officiating, especially in the first half, Manhattan could have gotten to a more comfortable lead and might not have had as much pressure entering the second half.
Alex Franklin led all scorers with 23 points. Franklin had 11 rebounds, eight of them offensive. Franklin shot 7-of-10 from the field and 9-of-14 from the line.
Owen Wignot was key off the bench with 11 points. Wignot made 3-of-4 three-pointers.
Ryan Rossiter picked up yet another double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Edwin Ubiles also scored 10 points. Some think Ubiles is an NBA prospect, but he has not seemed to have what it takes to be with the pros this season.
Clarence Jackson scored eight points. All eight points came during Siena's 12-2 second half run. Jackson shot 2-of-15 from the field, and 2-of-11 from three-point range.
The Saints struggled from the field and will need to figure things out if they hope to win an NCAA Tournament game for the third straight year. Siena shot 26-of-68 (38.2 percent) on Saturday.
Rico Pickett led Manhattan with 18 points. Pickett shot 7-of-16 from the field. Pickett had two monster dunks in the first half, but it was not enough for Manhattan.
Darryl Crawford scored 12 points and ripped down nine rebounds. Crawford finished his collegiate career 22 points shy of Larry Lembo for seventh place on the Jaspers all-time scoring list.
Patrick Bouli scored nine points on three three-pointers and Antoine Pearson scored seven points, all in the first half.
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