Manhattan Menís Basketball Finalizes Non-League Schedule
2012-2013 Non-Conference Schedule
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - The Manhattan men's basketball team has finalized its non-conference schedule for the 2012-13 campaign. The Jaspers open the season on Nov. 11 at 2012 NCAA Final Four participant Louisville. The Cardinals are the first of five opponents on the docket that advanced to the 2012 postseason and won 20+ games last year. The slate also features neutral site contests at the new state-of-the-art Barclays Center in Brooklyn versus South Carolina and their participation in the BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. against George Washington.
"Obviously, this non-conference schedule is one of the toughest in recent years at Manhattan as we are trying to take our program to the next level, establishing it as one of the elite mid-majors in the nation," said head coach Steve Masiello. "We will be challenged early, and our thought is to make it as difficult as possible to prepare us for conference play and the MAAC Tournament in March."
The Jaspers visit Louisville where Masiello spent six years prior to his return to Manhattan working as an assistant coach under Rick Pitino. It will be Manhattan's eighth meeting all-time with the Cardinals and the first since visiting Freedom Hall in 2002.
Manhattan continues its season opening road trip when the Jaspers travel to reigning Ivy League champion Harvard on Nov. 16. It will be the ninth meeting all-time between the Jaspers and Crimson, and the first since the 1987-88 season.
"I believe this non-conference schedule is the most challenging since the 1970s, when the school was nationally ranked. It demonstrates to alumni and fans the College's commitment to a successful program," said Manhattan Athletic Director Bob Byrnes.
Manhattan will square off with Hofstra on Nov. 21 for its home opener at Draddy Gymnasium before hitting the road for three straight contests. The Jaspers travel to 2012 National Invitation Tournament participant Dayton on Nov. 24, which will mark only the third meeting between the programs and the first since the 1957-58 season. Manhattan returns to New York City for its next contest on Nov. 29 at cross-town rival Fordham for the 105th "Battle of the Bronx".
Manhattan and George Washington meet on Dec. 2 at the 20,282-seat Verizon Center as part of the 17th Annual BB&T Classic. George Mason and Maryland will be the other half of the doubleheader.
The Jaspers play their next two games in Brooklyn beginning on Dec. 16 when Manhattan visits defending Northeast Conference champion Long Island. Manhattan will then square off with Southeast Conference (SEC) member South Carolina on Dec. 22 at the Barclays Center, the new home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets franchise.
"Anytime you can play road and neutral court games it shows the character and mental toughness of a team. We want to play in as many hostile environments and make our guys feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations," said Masiello.
Manhattan stays local for the last two games of the non-conference schedule as the Jaspers face their second Ivy League opponent Columbia on Dec. 29. The Jaspers return home on New Year's Day against 2012 America East Conference runner up Stony Brook, a return contest from the programs' 2011 ESPN BracketBuster meeting.
The Jaspers will be on the road for the 2013 ESPN BracketBuster, an annual event that runs Feb. 22-24. It will be the 10th straight year Manhattan has participated in the event. The Jaspers will be assigned an opponent a few weeks prior to the contest. Previous opponents have been the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2004), George Mason (2005), Long Beach State (2006), Eastern Michigan (2007), Binghamton (2008), William & Mary (2009), Towson (2010), Stony Brook (2011) and UNC-Wilmington (2012).
Manhattan is coming off a 21-win campaign in Masiello's first year at the helm, which was a 15-game improvement from 2010-2011. The Jaspers return 88.5% of its scoring offense powered by 2012 All-MAAC First Team selection senior guard George Beamon. Beamon was the 2012 MAAC scoring champion averaging 19.0 points per game and enters the 2012-2013 campaign expected to be a contender for MAAC Player of the Year honors and other national accolades.
"I think George Beamon may be one of the most underrated players in college basketball. I look for him to have an All-American like senior year with a balanced team that has a lot of weapons in 2012 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year Rhamel Brown, All-Conference selections Michael Alvarado and Emmy Andujar," said Masiello.
Manhattan also welcomes a talented recruiting class consisting of incoming freshmen 6'4" shooting guard Paul Bayt (Carmel, Indiana/Park Tudor), 6'2" point guard CJ Jones (Chicago, Illinois/Orr High School/St. Thomas More Preparatory), 6'10" center Adam Lacey (Chula Vista, Calif./San Diego High School) and 6'6" forward Shane Richards (Staten Island, N.Y./York Prep). Ashton Pankey, a 6'10" forward who transferred from Maryland, also joined the program.