By Howard Goldin
Bronx, NY---The Manhattan Jaspers returned to Draddy Gym in Riverdale for the opening home game of the 2013-14 basketball season on Saturday night against the George Washington University Colonials. The two teams began the season undefeated in their first two contests.
The two met last season. In that game, the Colonials defeated the Jaspers, 67-55, due to the absence of the Jaspers’ leading player, George Beamon. Beamon missed the final 26 games of the 2012-13 season.
The 6-4 forward was in the lineup on Saturday and made a big impact, especially in the first half when he scored 20 and grabbed seven boards.
The visitors, in their first of two visits to the Bronx and their first of four to the New York metropolitan area this year, appeared comfortable early in the contest as they gained a 9-5 advantage at 16:45.
The Jaspers then showed their scoring prowess with a 22-7 scoring run that gave them their first double digit lead, 27-16, at 9:31.
The scoring remained stable for the rest of the period as the Jaspers led 39-30 at the half.
The Jaspers shot with excellent accuracy from the floor, 15 for 28, but their percentage from beyond the arc, 4 for 13, was far below their long range shooting excellence during the first two games. Another drawback that led to further problems in the second half was having drawn 12 personal fouls.
George Washington spurted to a 45-44 lead after beginning the second half with a 15-5 scoring run. With G.W. ahead, 50-49, at 12:33, Maurice Creek of the Colonials sunk two 3-pointers in the space of 23 seconds to put his team ahead by a score of 56-49.
The visitors reached their first double figure advantage, 63-53, with 8:08 left to play. The Jaspers closed the gap to two points, 72-70, with 1:10 on the clock, but were outscored 8-4 in the final minute.
Although Beamon scored 34 and grabbed nine rebounds, no other Jasper reached double figures in any category. Three players on the visitors scored in double figures, Creek led with 27, Isaiah Armwood scored 20 and Kevin Larsen achieved a double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The shooting accuracy from the floor by the Jaspers declined drastically during the second half as they only netted 8 of 29 shots.
Manhattan committed 15 fouls in the second half. Their 27 fouls in the game gave the Colonials 13 additional attempts from the charity stripe, which gave them sufficient additional points to achieve the victory.
The taller and more athletic Colonials also controlled the boards, 43-30.
The Jaspers will return to Draddy on Tuesday night, November 26, to host Fordham in the annual Battle of the Bronx.