Manhattan Edged by South Carolina at Barclays Center
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Manhattan's second half comeback bid fell short as the Jaspers were edged 63-57 by South Carolina (8-3) Saturday in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational at Barclays Center. Freshman forward Shane Richards had a career night with a game-high 18 points on six three-pointers to lead Manhattan (3-7). Three Gamecocks scored in double-figures in their third straight win as junior guard Brenton Williams led the way with 17 points.
The Jaspers put together a furious rally trailing 11 points with less than five minutes remaining. Manhattan's defensive energy helped ignite a 10-2 run that was capped with back-to-back threes from Richards and senior guard Mohamed Koita making it a three point game (60-57) with one minute on the clock.
Junior guard Brian Richardson converted one of two free-throws on South Carolina's ensuing possession, and then back-to-back turnovers by the Jaspers allowed the Gamecocks to withstand the late surge. Richardson finished with 12 points and shot 4-for-5 from the free-throw line.
The first half featured five ties and three lead changes with neither team building a double-digit advantage. South Carolina scored 11 straight points to open its largest lead of the half by 16:28. The Gamecocks knocked down their first four shots, including three treys, with Williams sinking two three-pointers to go up 11-3.
Manhattan answered by outscoring South Carolina 15-5 over the next six minutes. The Jaspers took a 18-16 edge after Rhamel Brown's layup in transition that was created by a slick one-handed pass by junior point guard Michael Alvarado. Richards then buried two three-pointers powering an 11-2 spurt that put Manhattan on top 21-18.
The Jaspers tied the ballgame at 27-27 after a big defensive stop. Stores came up with the steal and found Brown with a no look pass for a two-handed dunk with 2:42 remaining.
Momentum slid to South Carolina after an intentional foul was called on sophomore forward Ryan McCoy allowing the Gamecocks to score four points on the possession. Richardson buried back-to-back threes contributing to seven straight points by South Carolina as it took a 34-27 advantage with 1:50 remaining. South Carolina carried a 36-30 lead into halftime.
Manhattan mounted an 11-2 run in the opening six minutes of the second half to go up by three points. The Jaspers scored 10 straight points to take a 41-38 lead on a pair of CJ Jones free-throws at 14:04. The Gamecocks countered with the next seven points, including four straight free-throws by Williams and Richardson after a technical foul was assessed to the Manhattan bench. Richardson's free-throws gave South Carolina a lead (43-41) it would not relinquish.
The Jaspers played their fourth straight game without two-time All-MAAC selection George Beamon who has been sidelined with an injury. The senior guard averaged 16.8 points over four games this season.
Senior forward Lakeem Jackson grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to aid South Carolina's 42-23 rebounding advantage. Manhattan could not capitalize on opportunities at the free-throw line going 13-for-24 (54.2%).
Brown was one rebound shy of a double-double posting 10 points and nine boards, going along with three blocks and four steals in 30 minutes of action. The Jaspers also received 13 points from sophomore guard Donovan Kates who shot 8-for-10 at the free-throw line.
The Jaspers return to action Saturday taking a short trip to Columbia, which is only a few subway stops from the Manhattan campus. Tip off is slated for 4 p.m.