There has not been much for Manhattan basketball to smile about this year. But Barry Rohrssen and his Manhattan left the McCann Centeron in Poughkeepsie smiling after Mike Alvarado's heave from beyond halfcourt banked in as the buzzer sounded.
Manhattan (4-18, 2-9 MAAC) was just coming off a heartbreaking loss at first place Fairfield. The Jaspers held a five-point lead in the final two minutes. However, missed free throws and a late turnover left the door wide-open for the Stags. Fairfield point guard Derek Needham hit a three-pointer with eight seconds left to send the Jaspers to another loss.
On Sunday, it looked like Manhattan was headed towards another close loss on the road. The Jaspers stuck close with Marist throughout the game, never trailing by more than six points.
The Jaspers held all the momentum after a 6-0 run on back-to-back three-point plays with 2:22 remaining. On the following Marist possession, Marist's Dorvell Carter nailed a three-pointer to put Marist (4-19, 3-8 MAAC) back on top by two points.
The Jaspers could not capitalize on their next three possessions, missing all three of their field goal attempts.
But just as Manhattan did against Fairfield, Marist left the door open for what would end in a miracle win for the Jaspers and a heartbreaking loss for the Red Foxes. In the final minute, Marist shot 0-for-2 from the foul line and turned the ball over once.
After a timeout by Manhattan with two seconds left, the Jaspers were set to inbound the ball from behind Marist's basket and were set to go the length of the floor.
Sophomore George Beamon inbounded to Mike Alvarado, who took a pair of dribbles and then released the ball from beyond the midcourt stripe. After the shot banked in, the Manhattan bench rushed onto the court to where Alvarado stood on the opposite sideline.
Maybe Gordon Hayward should have taken lessons from the freshman from All Hallows High School.
For the Jaspers, Beamon led in scoring with 13 points. The sophomore turned in his seventh double-double of the season with 10 rebounds.
Aside from Alvarado's miracle game-winner, the true freshman dished out six assists and did not turn the ball over.
Kidani Brutus and Djibril Coulibaly each scored 12 points for Manhattan. Coulibaly's 12 points was a career-high for the junior.
Demetrius Jemsion also had a strong game for the Jaspers with nine points and eight rebounds.
Carter led Marist with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Devin Price had 13 points and five assists.
The Jaspers look to carry the momentum from Alvarado's shot into Friday night's game at Siena (9-12, 6-5 MAAC). The Saints are coming off of a win over Niagara on Sunday.