Manhattan Wins 104th “Battle of the Bronx”
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - In front of a boisterous sellout crowd at Draddy Gymnasium, the Manhattan College men's basketball team put on a show on Wednesday night. The Jaspers (6-4) scored the first eight points of the game and never trailed, cruising to an 81-47 victory over local rival Fordham (3-4) in the 104th "Battle of the Bronx." It was the Jaspers' largest win over the Rams since an 84-48 triumph in the 1994 meeting and it tied the second largest margin of victory since the rivalry began 100 years ago.
"We beat a very good Fordham team that I have the utmost respect for," explained Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello. "So many guys do so many things for us. It was a great atmosphere tonight, the way it should be. That is what college basketball is about, a rivalry game, and our fans were tremendous."
Jaspers' freshman Emmy Andujar had the best all around game of his young career earning him the John "Doc" Johnson Most Valuable Player Award of the rivalry. Andujar exploded for 14 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists in the blowout.
"Emmy was able to dominate the game without the basketball. He did all the little things and I am really proud of him. All he wants to do is get better," said Masiello.
Junior guard George Beamon posted double-figures in the scoring column for the 24th straight contest finishing with 15 points as he shot a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown. Beamon, who entered the game as the nation's leading free-throw shooter (97.4%), had his streak of consecutive free-throws end at 27, but finished the game 2-for-4 at the stripe. He added five rebounds to his stat line.
"When everyone is hitting shots it is hard to stop us," noted Beamon. "Our conditioning is unbelievable and that is what you see in the second half, our hard work paying off."
Manhattan's swarming defense wore the Rams down and forced 20 turnovers, which it traded in for 31 points. It was the second straight contest the Jaspers held and opponent to less than 50 points as the Jaspers improved to 3-1 on their home court.
Beamon, a junior co-captain, delivered Manhattan's first punch after the bell rang that seemed to daze the Rams. He scored the first eight points of the game with a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched around a lay up in transition. The Jaspers then broke the game open at the seven minute mark in the first half by using a 10-2 surge to open up a double digit advantage. Senior guard Liam McCabe-Moran buried his second trey of the game to power the Jaspers' run, and then Michael Alvarado capped it with a three point play to give Manhattan a 31-19 advantage at the 2:43 mark, its largest lead of the stanza.
McCabe-Moran delivered double-figures in the scoring column for the fourth time this season adding 10 points to the winning effort. Alvarado contributed 12 points, four rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of action. He anchored Manhattan's solid free-throw shooting effort (71.4%) going 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. Jaspers' freshman Donovan Kates was the fifth Jasper to score in double-figures posting 10 points with two 3-pointers off the bench.
Sophomore forward Rhamel Brown helped put Manhattan in cruise control scoring six of his nine points in the second half. Brown, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's top shot blocker, swatted four shots to move into a tie for fourth place on the Jaspers' career blocks list with 94.
Manhattan torched the net shooting 55.2% (16-29) from the field and went 5-for-9 (55.6%) from 3-point territory in the second half. Junior center Kevin Laue gave the Jaspers their largest lead of the season with a layup to go ahead by 38 with 2:03 remaining.
The Jaspers dominated in all facets of the game, including a 40-30 rebounding advantage. Roberto Colonette was the difference for Manhattan on the glass as he grinded out a game high nine rebounds, going along with seven points, three steals and two blocks.
Fordham freshman Devon McMillan led the Rams with 12 points. Branden Frazier added nine points and Chris Gaston scored eight.
It marks the third time in the last four meetings that Manhattan has earned bragging rights in the historic Bronx basketball rivalry. The Jaspers own a 54-50 all-time advantage in the series with Fordham.
Manhattan begins a four game road series on Saturday when the Jaspers visit Hofstra. Tip off is schedule for 4 p.m. at the Mack Sports Complex.