Bronx, NY---On the last day of February, two elite teams of the Metropolitan Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), the Manhattan Jaspers (21-7, 14-5) and the Iona Gaels (19-9, 16-3) engaged in a hard-fought and thrilling contest that was not decided until the final seconds of overtime. The game had been tied nine times with the lead changing hands on 13 occasions. The result of this contest at the Draddy Gym in Riverdale was quite different than the first between the two schools this season played on the last day of January that was won by Iona, 85-73.
The Jaspers took an early 11-6 lead that was followed by 11 unanswered points by the Gaels. With Iona leading, 20-13, the Jaspers’ eight straight points gave them a 21-20 advantage. The lead gravitated back and forth several times until the final four minutes of the first half when Manhattan outscored Iona, 9-2 to end the half ahead by a score of 45-35. That was the only double figure lead of the close contest.
Despite the Manhattan lead, Iona had a higher percentage of success from the floor. This was nullified by the control of the offensive boards by the Jaspers which allotted them nine more shots than Iona.
An opening 10-3 scoring run by the Gaels in the second half lowered the deficit to three points, 48-45. At 13:49, a basket by junior Emmy
Andujar raised Manhattan’s lead to seven, 54-47. The two points broke his career high of 19. The score was tied at 61 with 7:30 remaining. It was knotted three more times in regulation including at 71 when time ran out.
Andujar’s performance in the five minutes of overtime was crucial to the Manhattan victory after stealing the basketball, he successfully drove to the basket and was fouled. The three points broke a 73 tie and that lead was never overturned. The visitors had possession with Manhattan leading, 80-77, but did not make the shot. Andujar was the leading scorer of the game with a single game career high of 28.
As it was the final home game of the season, three Manhattan seniors were honored prior to the game. Michael Alvarado suffered an ankle injury after being on court only six minutes. His one assist and three points raised his career totals to 1,374 points and 353 assists.
George Beamon recorded his fifth double-double (13 points and 11 rebounds). His 1,778 career points ranks fourth in the college’s totals.
The other senior, Rhamel Brown scored 9, grabbed 9 boards and blocked 4 shots. He ranks second in shots blocked in the NCAA this year and is first as a Jasper with 367. He is eighth at Manhattan with 781 boards and has scored 1,108 points. This is the first time in Manhattan history when each of three seniors have scored more than 1,000 points at the school.
The Jaspers will be on the road at Canisius on March 2 for their final game of their successful regular season.