|Manhattan Earns 20th Win over Canisius|
The Jaspers improved to 9-3 on their home court this season as Manhattan (20-10, 12-5 MAAC) enters its final contest of the regular-season in striking distance of the #2 seed at the 2012 MAAC Championship. The victory also marks the first time since the 2005-06 season that the Jaspers have reached the 20-win plateau, and only the 11th time in the 106 year program history.
Manhattan scored off the opening tip in what began as a back-and-forth affair. Canisius would take an 11-9 lead with 15:10 remaining in the first half on a Reggie Groves layup before a Donovan Kates three-pointer gave the Jaspers a 12-11 lead that they would not relinquish. That trey triggered an 8-2 spurt to put Manhattan up 17-13 with 13:02 to play in the half.
The Griffs kept it close and headed into the locker room trailing 42-36 as both teams played a high-energy offense throughout. Each team shot above 48% from the floor with Manhattan shooting 6-for-13 from downtown in the first half compared to Canisius' 3-for-8 effort.
Out of the break, the Jaspers would turn the tempo up a notch using a 17-1 run, while holding the Griffs without a field goal for the first 5:32 of the frame to take a 59-37 lead. The outburst began when Beamon hit a three from the right wing on the first possession of the half. Canisius would miss each of their first nine shots with the only point in the stretch coming on a Josiah Heath free throw, before Alshwan Hymes eventually hit a layup at the 14:28 mark to make the score 59-39 in favor of the Jaspers.
Manhattan would keep the lead hovering around 20 for the majority of the contest, ballooning it to 24 on a Beamon layup with 8:04 remaining in regulation. Sophomore Torgrim Sommerfeldt scored his first basket in a Jasper uniform on a jumper in the lane to push the lead back to 24 at 79-55.
Canisius would not go quietly though despite the large deficit as they doubled-up Manhattan through the final eight minutes outscoring the Jaspers 22-11 after the Sommerfeldt bucket. Hymes scored a team-high 23 points for the Griffs, 16 coming in the second half, on 9-of-16 shooting including 5-11 from downtown.
Sophomore forward Rhamel Brown made Manhattan basketball history with his second block of the night, coming at the 17:54 mark of the second half, and was his 75th of the season breaking the Jasper single season blocked shots record formerly held by Arturo Dubois (2005-06). He finished the game with 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting, six rebounds and three blocks.
Brown and Beamon were joined in double-figures by Kates who scored a career high 18 points and had three assists. Canisius had three with double-digit points as well as Gabby Belardo netted 19 and Harold Washington poured in 12 of his own.
As a team, the Jaspers shot 52.9% (36-68) from the floor including 10-for-21 from downtown. Canisius also shot the ball well going 8-of-19 from three-point range and 27-of-61 (44.3%) overall.
The Jaspers had 23 assists on 36 made baskets as they scored 90 points for just the second time this season, the first since a 94-51 victory at Binghamton on Dec. 30. Manhattan outrebounded the Griffs 39-34, including 11 offensive boards.
Manhattan concludes its regular season on Sunday when the Jaspers host Loyola (Md.) at 4 p.m. at Draddy Gym. Sunday's game will mark the final home contest in the careers of Jasper seniors Djibril Coulibaly, Liam McCabe-Moran, and Kidani Brutus. With the Greyhounds loss Friday at Rider, a Jasper victory in their final regular-season game of the year would guarantee the #2 seed going into the 2012 MAAC Tournament.