Jaspers Drop Rivalry Game to Iona

Few things changed when Manhattan and Iona faced off on Tuesday night. There was still the customary packed Draddy Gymnasium. There was an electric crowd with some fans wearing hard hats, others wearing their Manhattan gear and there were two teams renewing a rivalry.

And one more thing remained status quo: Iona’s regular season dominance over Manhattan.

The Gaels defeated the Jaspers 82-67 for their fifth consecutive regular season victory against the Jaspers.

The teams played a tight first half, but the Gaels ended the game on a 23-8 run over the last 11 minutes to pull away with the win.

“I thought the last eight minutes was the difference,” Steve Masiello, Manhattan head coach said. “They pulled away, made some tough shots, we had some breakdowns, some big turnovers.”

The Jaspers got off to a red hot start, hitting nine of their first 12 shots, and continued on that pace throughout the first half. The Jaspers shot 60 percent and replicated their performance on the defensive end, holding Iona to 34 percent from the floor.

But the Jaspers failed to take advantage. As has been the case all season, the Jaspers were plagued by turnovers. The Jaspers committed 10 turnovers, which held them back from holding a substantial lead in the first half.

“No doubt about it,” Tim Cluess, Iona head coach said when asked if his team was fortunate to be tied at the half, “because I thought we were being outplayed in the first half. But I think our determination and hard work kept us in the game. So I was really happy that we were still in it and was hopeful that we’d start scoring a little bit better, and then on defense more importantly we’d continue to get better in the second half.”

Iona stayed in the game behind 13 points from Jon Severe, a well-known nemesis for Manhattan. As a former member of the Fordham Rams, Severe scored 30 points as a freshman against Manhattan in 2013, and has played several games against Manhattan in his career.

“At Fordham it was the same thing so I knew what was going to happen,” Severe said. “They play tough, so be ready.”

At halftime the game was tied at 43, after Iona’s Rickey McGill hit a half court shot at the buzzer.

“It was a great momentum play right before halftime for sure,” Cluess said.

The Gaels seemed to be in trouble to start the second half as their leading scorer and rebounder, Jordan Washington, picked up his fourth foul and had to come out the game. But the Gaels poked some holes in the Manhattan defense. With the game tied at 59, the Gaels took the lead for good going on a 6-0 run.

The Gaels took advantage of Manhattan’s eight turnovers and 33 percent shooting in the second half.

Zavier Turner scored 20 points for the Jaspers and Zane Waterman pitched in 15 points and five rebounds. For the Gaels, Schadrac Casimir scored a game-high 21 and Severe had 18.

Manhattan now sits tied for last place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Jaspers return to action on Friday when they take on the first place Monmouth Hawks on the road.