Manhattan-Hofstra: Jaspers Return to Reality With Second Straight Loss

Ari KramerSenior Analyst IINovember 29, 2008

The Manhattan-Hofstra games over the last two seasons came down to the wire and this year's match was not different.

After blowing an early second half nine point lead, the Jaspers trailed Hofstra 61-54 with 2:30 remaining.

Chris Smith, who led Manhattan's scoring charge with 15 points, knocked down a 30-foot three-point shot, and Antoine Pearson followed with a three of his own after aHofstra turnover.

Draddy Gymnasium sensed that the Jaspers were going to finish off the Pride as Darryl Crawford was fouled with just over a minute left. Crawford hit the first foul shot but missed the next, giving the game its third tie.

Charles Jenkins, who entered tonight 11th on the leading scorer's list with 23.8 points per game, scored to give the Pride a 63-61 lead.

Manhattan had three opportunities to tie the game on the next possession, but Smith, Crawford, and Devon Austin all missed from point-blank range.

Down 63-61 with the shot clock off, Darryl Crawford dribbled off his foot with 10 seconds remaining. Jenkins only hit one of the foul shots after he was fouled, but stole the ball back from Manhattan and sealed the game with another foul shot.

Final score: Hofstra (4-1) 65, Manhattan (3-2) 61

Barry Rohrssen stormed after the officiating crew after the final buzzer because of a few crucial calls that the referees blew in favor of Hofstra.

Jaspers' radio announcer Ed Cohen claimed he had never seen Rohrssen so livid with the referees after a game.

Manhattan did an excellent job containing Jenkins in the first half, and he only scored two points as a result. However, Cornelius Vines picked up the slack with four three-pointers and Hofstra trailed Manhattan 33-27 at the intermission.

Jenkins found some openings early in the second half en route to a 21-point half. Without the 6'3" sophomore, Manhattan would have won easily.

The Jaspers need to shoot better from the field. In the two consecutive losses, they have converted 43 of their 118 shots for a percentage of 36.4 percent.

Smith and Austin will have to find the touch that they displayed in Manhattan's three wins. Over the last two games, Smith is 7-31 and Austin is 6-20. Austin has played with this inconsistency from the field his entire career, and Smith has also been inconsistent at times.

Smith has fallen in love with the three-point shot, but the strongest aspect of his game is driving to the basket. He continues to settle for long three-pointers, but only hits 23 percent of them. Six of his 12 misses tonight were from behind the arc.

If a senior has not developed a part of his game over the three plus years in a program, chances are he will never improve in that aspect. However, Austin needs to finish more of his shots from close range under contention.

He has a great nose for the ball off the glass and has a chance for a tip in on multiple occasions each night. Sometimes he is able to gently tap the ball into the hoop, but more often he can't find the right touch.

Tonight he missed a tip early in the game and then could not connect to tie the game at 63.

On a brighter note for Austin, the senior became the 29th Jasper to reach 1,000 points in a career. Congratulations to Devon.

Brandon Adams came up big for Manhattan with the Jaspers' first double-double of the season. The junior's 10 points and 12 rebounds, nine of which were offensive, kept Manhattan in the game.

Herve Banogle would foul a mannequin if he had to guard one. The senior from Cameroon had four fouls and just as many points.

Pearson and Crawford struggled to score after putting up double-digits against St. Francis. Crawford also dribbled the ball off his foot with 10 seconds left and his team trailing by two points.

Ironically, the Jaspers have turned the ball over less in their losses than in their wins. However, their field goal percentage has been horrendous.

Manhattan continues to let opponents have their way beyond the arc. Opponents are shooting 44.4 percent from three.

Even though Manhattan is eight points away from being 5-0, Barry Rohrssen needs to remind his players that these two losses are tough but they don't mean too much in the grand scheme of the season. Manhattan will not receive an at-large bid with the schedule that Rohrssen created, so these losses only affect potential tournament seeding.

Canisius travels to Riverdale to play Manhattan this Friday night in the MAAC opener for both teams. The Golden Griffins were picked to finish near the bottom of the conference, so the Jaspers need to prove that these two losses were just a fluke and beat Canisius.