Saturday, March 8, 2014

Manhattan Rides Brown To Victory Over Peacocks

At the end of the post-game handshake line, just minutes after the final buzzer on Manhattan's 72-58 victory over Saint Peter's in Saturday's MAAC men's tournament quarterfinal round game, Jaspers' coach Steve Masiello encountered a disconsolate Peacock player, Desi Washington.

Rather than the obligatory quick hand-touch and move on, Masiello embraced Washington by the back of his head and delivered a couple minutes of encouragement.

"I just told him that he's his team's future, that he has nothing to ashamed about," said Masiello, about the classy confrontation with an opposing player. "I told him that he's got a bright future, that he's a class act and that his teammates were going to follow his lead."

But what comes of that future will have to come next season.

The Peacocks gave Manhattan a stiff challenge for most of 27 minutes, trailing by a single point, 44-43, with just over 13 minutes remaining. before the Jaspers took over.

The winners' inside force, powerful 6-foot-6 forward Rhamel Brown scored nine of his team's next 19 points in a 19-9 run that gave Manhattan a 63-52 advantage with under five minutes left and the Peacocks never threatened after that.

Brown, the conference's Defensive Player of the Year, had game-high totals of 18 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.

The outcome lifts Manhattan's record to 23-7 and sends it to Sunday's 7 p.m. semifinal round contest against the winner of the Quinnipiac-Niagara quarterfinal round contest played later Saturday night.

The winners outrebounded Saint Peter's, 33-27, and used its inside strength particularly well in the second half. The Jaspers' aggressive play resulted in 42 free throws (29 made) to Saint Peter's 15-of-20 effort from the charity stripe.

"Because of our depth, we might have been a little fresher (late in the game)," admitted Masiello.

For Washington and Saint Peter's, there are likely to be better days ahead.

"We only hd eight assists yet had 19 turnovers in this game," said Saint Peter's coach John Dunne. "Those numbers have to be turned around if you want to beat Manhattan.

"But, we'll learn from it. We'll come back next year and have more poise. We won seven of our last 10 games this year, and things look good for us next year (the Peacocks' only senior is starting swingman Chris Burke. We'll look to get btter next year."

Saint Peter's finishes with a 14-17 overall record.

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