Charles Lippolis, Assistant Sports Editor
In what has been a tough season for the Men’s Basketball Team, the Jaspers suffered another tough loss Sunday night at the hands of Saint Peter’s by a score of 69-50.
The Peacocks led for the entire game after striking first in off the tip-off. The first half of the game was hard fought, with the Jaspers down just one point going into the break.
Manhattan kept it close by playing their brand of basketball: great defense leading to good looks on the other end of the floor. It was not perfect, but 45.5% shooting from behind the arc (5-11), capped off by a Zane Waterman shot-clock-beating three-point basket at the end of the half, helped them go into the locker room with the score standing at 30-29.
Unfortunately for head coach Steve Masiello and the Jaspers, Sunday night’s contest ended up being a tale of two halves. After shooting a little over 40% from the field a whole in the first half, the Jaspers were just 5-28 (17.9%) from the field over the next 20 minutes of play.
“Quadir Welton just took it to us, we had no answers for him,” said Masiello, “I thought he was the difference in the game, and our inability to hit a shot.”
Masiello’s Jaspers were befuddled by Welton’s performance Sunday night. The junior center scored 19 points on 9-14 shooting from the field, and was also able to snag 14 rebounds. Entering the second half with just eight points and four rebounds, Welton’s explosive second half is what turned the Peacock’s edge into a decisive victory.
The Jaspers struggled to play interior defense all night. Quadir Welton’s double-double was the centerpiece of the troubles the Manhattan had, but he only accounted for 19 of the teams 34 total points in the paint. Guard Nick Griffin was their second leading scorer with 17, but he did most of his damage from behind the arc, connecting on 5-6 three-point field goals.
It was the ability of Saint Peter’s whole roster to get to the basket and finish that made the difference. The team was 16-23 on layups on the game, which blew Manhattan’s 3-14 out of the water.
“Ball doesn’t go in, you lose a little air out of the balloon,” said Masiello, “They hit a three and then you get a little more deflated.”
Those attempts which couldn’t find the bottom of the net are what took Masiello’s team out of the game in the second half. They watched their one point deficit turn into a 12-point deficit before they could score in the second half.
Manhattan would go on to finish the second half with a dismal 17.9% field goal percentage (5-28). Three of those five shots were made from behind the arc, and of the 28 total attempts, half of them were three pointers. This meant that the Jaspers shot better from three than from two-point range on the same number of attempts, which truly speaks the offensive inefficiency the team displayed Sunday.
Now at 4-12 in the MAAC, Manhattan goes on a short road trip before coming home on Sunday, February 19th to face Quinnipiac. All teams make the MAAC tournament, so there is still plenty for Manhattan to play for this season, Masiello just hopes to get his team on track over the next two weeks in preparation for the tournament.