Here's No. 9 in the series taking an early look at conference teams. Up, now ...
MANHATTAN (1-1, 5-3)
A split on the Western New York swing helped continue a nice start to the season for the Jaspers. After losing at Niagara on Friday, Manhattan earned an impressive 71-57 victory at Canisius on Sunday.
Transfer guard Rico Pickett, who was suspended for three games earlier this year, had a game-high 21 points, while senior guard Darryl Crawford added 17. The Jaspers won with ease despite just seven points from another senior guard Antoine Pearson, who picked up four fouls in 10 minutes of court time.
Crawford is off to an all-league caliber start, averaging 15.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game through eight contests.
Crawford, Pearson (13.3 ppg. average) and Pickett give Manhattan a perimeter trio that doesn't take a proverbial backseat to many others in the conference. And, 6-6, 230-pound junior forward Andrew Gabriel is providing some help up front (7.3 points, 4.4 rebounds).
Insight: Manhattan might not contend for the league title, but it is more than capable of providing problems for any opponent on a given night. Many observers picked Manhattan to finish ninth in the 10-team conference. If Manhattan is only the ninth-best team in the MAAC, then the conference has never had more competitive depth. The guess here is that Manhattan will finish a lot higher than ninth.