There are rules, practices or techniques that make basketball complex.
But no matter how difficult basketball can be to understand for some people, there is one simple concept everyone can comprehend—whichever team scores more points at the end of the game wins.
Through the first five games of the season, the Manhattan Jaspers men’s basketball team owes its 1-4 record to just not scoring more than the other team. It sounds simplistic, but that is what basketball boils down to—scoring more points than the other team.
Sure, there are other factors contributing to Manhattan’s poor start to the season, but its offensive futility stands out above the rest.
Some will point out defense as the Jaspers’ key issue, focusing on the 81 points and 77 points they gave up to Florida State and Massachusetts respectively. But since those contests, Manhattan has held its opponents to an average of 59.3 points per game.
Defense is not Manhattan’s major problem.
When you are ranked 229th out 351 Division 1 schools with 65.2 points per game, that is the problem.
What has plagued Manhattan on offense is the minimal contributions it is getting from its players. Although Shane Richards has been a pleasant surprise for Manhattan this season, leading the team in scoring with 15.8 points per game, there has yet to be someone that has shown up as a consistent number two scorer.
Right behind Richards in scoring is Emmy Andujar with 10.8 points per game. However, his scoring average was bumped up thanks to a 21-point performance against Massachusetts. In the other four games this season, Andujar has failed to score in double-figures.
Prior to the start of the season, Andujar was voted onto the All-MAAC Second Team, but he was not voted onto the team with the thought that he would average 10.8 points per game. It is hard to criticize him however, because what he has not done on offense, he is making up for it on defense with 6.6 rebounds per game, which leads Manhattan.
But for Manhattan to be successful this season, Andujar has to pick up his offense and score consistently in double-figures. Right now, too much of Manhattan’s offense revolves around Richards and Manhattan needs Andujar to take some pressure off Richards.
Whether it is scoring or distributing the ball to others, there is no doubt that Andujar can play better on offense.
If the individual scoring marks look bad for Manhattan, the total team output looks even worse.
To get a sense of how putrid the Manhattan offense has been, consider the fact that it only failed to surpass 70 points seven times all of last season and through the first five games of this season, it has already scored less than 70 points four times.
Last season, Manhattan’s lowest scoring output was 63 points in a loss to Siena on Feb. 21. In its last two games against Northeastern and George Mason, Manhattan has matched last season’s scoring low and has shattered it as well.
With that being said, the brutal non-conference schedule has made it tough for the Jaspers to get comfortable on the offensive end.
Against Northeastern, Manhattan looked as bad as it has in a long time, scoring a measly 51 points. At halftime of that game, Manhattan had just 24 points, and by the end of the game, had just one player score in double-figures—Tyler Wilson with 12 points.
It took a miraculous 75-foot full-court heave from Jalen Jenkins for the Jaspers to lose to George Mason, but the Jaspers could at least take away one positive from that game. Wilson matched his career-high with 15 points and set a new career-high with seven assists.
This marked the second consecutive game in which Wilson scored in double-figures and if Manhattan can get him to consistently pitch into the offense, that is a contribution that can take some of the offensive workload off Richards and can perhaps let Andujar get away with only 10.8 points per game.
Manhattan no longer has Michael Alvarado, George Beamon and Rhamel Brown to count on offense and will have to
quickly get others to step up if it does not want to continue to lose games.
Manhattan’s Scoring Numbers Compared to Last Season
|Season||FG %||Lowest Scoring Total||Number of Times Held Under 70 Points||Scoring Averages of Number 1 and 2 Scorers|
|2013-2014||.451||63||7||George Beamon 18.8 ppg
Michael Alvarado 11.9 ppg
|2014-2015||.410||51||4 Through Only 5 Games||Shane Richards 15.8 ppg
Emmy Andujar 10.8 ppg
Manhattan has struggled on offense this season. Table by Daniel Ynfante.