Manhattan Knocks off Niagara for 5th Straight Win
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - George Beamon matched a season-high 24 points to help propel the Manhattan men's basketball team to its fifth straight win with a 71-64 victory over Niagara (9-12, 4-5 MAAC) on Sunday at Draddy Gymnasium. Sophomore point guard Michael Alvarado scored 13 points going 11-for-12 from the charity stripe to anchor a superb free-throw shooting effort for the Jaspers who knocked down 83.3% (25-30) of their attempts. Manhattan (14-7, 7-2 MAAC) got 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds from freshman Donovan Kates and nine points from senior co-captain Kidani Brutus as the Jaspers matched their longest win streak of the year.
Manhattan let a 12-point second half lead slip away and trailed by as many as seven points with 9:02 remaining. But the resilient Jaspers outscored the Purple Eagles 25-11 down the stretch to improve to 6-2 at Draddy Gymnasium. The Jaspers strung together 16 consecutive free-throws during the closing run with Alvarado hitting nine of them. Brutus delivered the dagger with 37 seconds remaining when he buried his third 3-pointer of the game to put Manhattan up 68-64, which was enough to hold off Niagara.
The Jaspers put their defense on display in the first half holding the MAAC's second most powerful offense to only 24 points on 28.6% (8-28) shooting from the field. The Purple Eagles entered the contest averaging 71.4 points per contest.
Beamon poured in 14 of his 24 points in the first half as Manhattan took a 31-24 advantage into intermission. He sparked the Jaspers key 11-0 run by hitting three straight 3-pointers followed by a put back dunk from senior forward Roberto Colonette to give Manhattan a 12-point advantage (19-7), its largest of the first half.
Manhattan rebuilt a 12-point lead at the 15:19 mark in the second half after back-to-back 3-pointers from Brutus and Beamon putting the Jaspers on top 39-27. Although, the Purple Eagles wouldn't go away as their offense got rolling over the ensuing six minutes of action to outscore Manhattan 26-7 and gain a 53-46 advantage with 9:02 left.
Jaspers' freshman forward Emmy Andujar stepped up with the pivotal play that slowed Niagara's momentum and triggered Manhattan's strong finish. Andujar silenced the Purple Eagles' 7-0 run with a block on freshman guard Juan'ya Green as he went in for a layup in transition with 8:46 on the clock. Beamon capitalized on the opposite end of the floor by converting a 3-point play to start the Jaspers' final push. Andujar contributed five points, five rebounds and handed out a team-high five assists.
For the second straight contest Manhattan shutdown its opponent's top scorer. After holding Marist guard Devin Price to only two points and 0-11 shooting in a 61-44 victory on Friday, the Jaspers locked down Green for only six points and a 1-for-9 shooting effort. Green entered the contest ranked second in the MAAC averaging 18.0 points per game.
Manhattan also won the battle of the boards for the second straight contest outrebounding Niagara 38-31. Colonette grabbed seven rebounds for the Jaspers to go along with eight points and two steals.
The Purple Eagles were led in scoring by red-shirt freshman Antoine Mason who finished with 19 points. Freshman forward Ameen Tanksley and sophomore Marvin Jordan combined for seven of the Purple Eagles' 10 3-pointers as they each posted 12 points in the contest.
Manhattan has won 11 of its last 14 games and looks to continue its hot streak next weekend when the Jaspers travel to Western New York for a pair of league contests. The Jaspers visit Canisius on Friday and then will play the rematch with Niagara on Sunday.