Manhattan’s season-opening defeat against the Florida State Seminoles was one of those basketball games you only watch if you are a loyal fan of either team.
To put things simply, it was an ugly contest.
The Jaspers and Seminoles combined for 65 fouls and 42 turnovers, in what can only be categorized as a sloppy game.
But what was undoubtedly the key statistic of the day was the 80 free throws the teams combined for. Although Manhattan took its fair share of free throws—25-36—FSU took 44 trips to the line and connected 32 times.
“That affected rhythm,” head coach Steve Masiello said during the postgame press conference to Seminoles.com, in reference to the fouls. “I thought we got a little stagnant…Fouling negates your rhythm and hustle.”
Foul trouble certainly played a part in Manhattan’s defeat, as it had three players foul out of the game and had all 11 players that played pick up at least a foul. To Manhattan’s defense, the Seminoles also had their foul troubles, with 10 of the 11 players that saw action pick up at least a foul. However, in FSU’s case, none of its players fouled out.
Highlighting Manhattan’s foul woes was Carlton Allen who had as many fouls—5—as he did minutes.
The 35 fouls committed by Manhattan resulted in 44 free throw attempts for the Seminoles, something Masiello was none too pleased with.
“I might have to push my dinner plans back [because of] how long that game took,” Masiello jokingly said after the game to ESPN.com. “My issue with that [foul calls] is, if it’s called the same way in January, I’m ok with it. But I feel every year in college basketball this happens.”
Masiello raised a real issue with college basketball officiating which altered its foul rules before the start of last season.
In an effort to increase scoring by making the game less physical, the NCAA decided to crack down on hand-checking from defenders and decided to more strictly define the block-charge call and what a player is allowed to do on defense in the post. One of the major alterations is that a defender is no longer allowed to place an arm or hand in the way of a player with the purpose of impeding progress.
This was a big issue for the Jaspers, who were called for several questionable fouls on the perimeter against FSU. However, the stricter enforcement of fouls is not a new issue for the Jaspers and should not be an excuse.
The Jaspers are known for playing an intense full-court press and many times a zone defense, which are defenses that tend to result in many fouls. It is just the nature of those types of aggressive defenses and it is something Manhattan will have to live with.
But the fact remains that it is hard to win a game when you allow an opponent to get to the charity stripe more than 40 times. The Seminoles, who scored 81 points in the game, had 40 percent of their points come from the free throw line. Quite simply, Manhattan cannot allow its opponents to feast from the free throw line.
This marked the first time the Jaspers conceded more than 40 free throws in a single game since Jan. 26, 2014 against Quinnipiac. Manhattan gave up exactly 40 free throws in that game, which went into overtime. The game against FSU did not go into overtime, making the free throw attempts number that much more alarming.
It will be hard for Manhattan to play as sloppy as it did against FSU again. However, there will be games with high foul totals in the future; it is just what Manhattan does.
The Jaspers and Seminoles both played a sloppy game but it ended up costing the Jaspers more than the Seminoles. Table by Daniel Ynfante.