RIVERDALE, N.Y.—Last night was Senior Night for the Manhattan Jaspers as they hosted the Iona Gaels. There was a pregame ceremony recognizing the lone seniors on the squad, Nick Walsh and Andrew Gabriel, as well as the handful of seniors in the band and on the dance and cheer teams. Midway through the second half of the game, you had to feel sorry for them. Iona completely dismantled the Jaspers in a 102-65 victory.
The game got out of hand about as quickly as a game can. Iona led from start to finish. Its first double-digit lead came nine minutes in; two minutes later the margin was 17. The Gaels led 56-36 at half. They went up 41 with 4:57 left in the game.
Here are some of Iona’s statistics:
· 36/54 (66.7 percent) from the field
· 16/27 (59.3 percent) from three
· 19/26 (73.1 percent) from the field in first half
· Frontcourt: 15/17 (88.2 percent) from the field
Let those numbers sink in for a moment.
This is a rivalry game—the campuses are separated by fewer than 10 miles—and it was Senior Night no less. Yet the effort on the defensive end was abysmal. Iona often beat Manhattan’s defense down the floor to get easy baskets. If the Gaels couldn’t get anything off the initial fast break, it didn’t take them long to find an open look in their halfcourt offense.
“The speed of the game caught up to us and hurt us early on,” Manhattan head coach Barry Rohrssen said. “They hit baskets and got confident and it just continued for them.” Later, he added: “We’ve got to guard some people. If you want to win a game you’ve got to guard some people for 40 minutes. It doesn’t matter how many points you put up. It comes down to getting some stops.”
It certainly didn’t help that Iona was pouring in practically everything—point guard Scott Machado was shooting just 28 percent from deep entering the contest and hit six-of-eight from downtown last night—but such a small percentage of the shots were contested.
“I’m surrounded by a bunch of shooters on my team,” said Machado, the nation’s assist leader. “When you’re the worst shooter on your team and you’re hitting shots like that, you feel good. The basket looks like an ocean.”
|It was all downhill after the opening tip for the Jaspers.|
Manhattan sophomore George Beamon, who led all scorers with 21, preferred to talk about redemption in the Jaspers’ remaining games than analyze what went wrong against Iona. “It’s just one of those nights. It was crazy,” Beamon said. “We’ve just got to bring it next game.”
Manhattan is 5-22 (3-13 in MAAC) this season and was a double-digit underdog against the Gaels (17-10, 11-5). But the Jaspers were coming off a win over Siena on Sunday and you had to expect a more inspired performance given the circumstances. “I haven’t remembered a game like this in a while,” Machado said. “We came to play tonight.” In what was the last game at Draddy Gym for the seniors, Manhattan did not.