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Manhattan Paired with Albany for CIT First Round

Courtesy: Manhattan Athletics Department
Release: 03/11/2012
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Jaspers will Travel to SEFCU Arena to Face the Great Danes of the America East Conference on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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RIVERDALE, N.Y. -
Making its first postseason appearance since 2006, the Manhattan men's basketball team officially found out late Friday that it is paired with Albany in the First Round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Jaspers and Great Danes will meet for only the second time in the programs history and for the first time at the NCAA Division I level on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at SEFCU Arena on the campus of the University at Albany.

Manhattan crossed paths with Albany in November as both squads were sent to Syracuse as part of the North Regional of the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Jaspers and Great Danes each defeated Brown at the Carrier Dome and fell to the Orange, but never met each other in the four-team pod.

Albany posted a 19-14 overall record and finished fourth in the America East with a 9-7 conference ledger. The Great Danes won their final three games of the regular-season before being knocked off by top-seeded Stony Brook in the America East Conference semifinals on March 4. Albany is led by junior guard Gerardo Suero who led the America East in scoring with 21.7 points per game. Suero was a First Team All-Conference selection and he was named the CollegeInsider.com America East Player of the Year.

The Great Danes led the America East in scoring offense averaging 71.9 points per contest, as well as in every shooting category, field goal percentage (44.5%), three-point field goal percentage (35.9%) and free-throw percentage (75.4%). Albany junior guard Mike Black (13.4 ppg, 4.2 apg) was a Second Team All-Conference selection, while backcourt teammate Logan Aronhalt (13.8 ppg, 88.9% ft pct.) collected Third Team honors.

Manhattan's 20-12 overall record garnered the program's first postseason bid since 2006 when the Jaspers advanced through two rounds of the National Invitation Tournament after defeating Fairleigh Dickinson and then upsetting Maryland in College Park, Md. The Jaspers took third place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 12-6 league record, marking their highest conference finish in six years.

Jaspers' first year head coach Steve Masiello orchestrated the biggest turnaround in NCAA Division I as the Jaspers finished the regular-season with 14 more wins than last season. Junior guard George Beamon garnered First Team All-MAAC honors after leading the conference in scoring with 18.6 points per game.

Manhattan point guard Michael Alvarado collected Third Team honors leading the Jaspers and ranking sixth in the conference with 3.3 assists per game, going along with an 8.4 scoring average. Jaspers' forward Emmy Andujar was one of the top freshmen in the league as he was named to the All-MAAC Rookie Team after averaging 8.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

The Jaspers established themselves as one of the top defensive teams in the MAAC. Manhattan led the league in field goal defense (40.4%), three-point field goal defense (32.7%) and blocked shots (4.9 bpg). Sophomore forward Rhamel Brown was named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year after leading the conference and setting the Manhattan program record with 79 blocks. Brown is 18th in NCAA Division I averaging 2.5 blocks per game.

The CIT expanded 32-team field consists of five rounds. The tournament has 31 games with all contests played at on-campus sites, which will use the old NIT model with future round matchups being determined by the results of the previous rounds to maintain regional matchups. Also, for the fourth straight year of the tournament's existence, the CIT Championship game will be televised live on Fox College Sports.

First Round games will be played March 13-15, followed the Second Round running from March 16-18. Quarterfinal games are scheduled for March 20-21 with the Semifinals on March 23-24. The CIT Championship game is set for Wednesday, March 28 with Fox College Sports announcers Dave Baker and Kyle Macy on the call.

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