By Angelica Niedermeyer, Asst. Sports Editor
Manhattan College Men’s Basketball towered over The College of Mount Saint Vincent in points, skills and height on Fri. Nov. 18. Led by RaShawn Stores in his first season as interim head-coach and seventh year on the Jaspers’ coaching staff, Manhattan had the game in their hands from the tip-off.
“Great effort tonight,” Stores said in the postgame press conference. “These guys played extremely hard and that’s what I care about– their energy and passion and their bond and their brotherhood– that’s the key to me.”
Stores graduated from Manhattan in 2016 after playing basketball all four years and being a two-time team captain. He was a member of the two MAAC Championship teams and scored eight points in the MAAC Title Game versus Iona in 2015. Friday’s win was Stores’ first
“I just try to bring a leadership role and be there for these young men, that’s what this is about,” said Stores. “I got my staff and I care about these young men more than anything. That’s what is key in Jasper Nation, it’s always about family. That’s what happened when we won back to back championships in 2014-2015, I was the leader then, and I just want to lead these guys now.”
At the Jasper’s first game on their home court Draddy Gymnasium on Friday, green seats were sparingly filled with family and fans as the spirit squads cheered on the Jaspers first win of 86-39.
In their first and last game home before the London Classic, fifth year guards Elijah Buchanan and Ant Nelson carried the game. Buchanan scored 10 points in the first half and six in the second half, while Nelson brought in nine points in the first half and the same in the second.
Buchanan is only 190 points away from his 1,000th point as a Jasper. Buchanan explains that he wanted to come back for his fifth year for the team.
“We love each other a lot,” said Buchanan. “We played a lot this summer in Jersey, so I just wanted to play with them again.”
This game was the first time the Jaspers played Mount Saint Vincent. Both Riverdale teams had losing streaks before the game. The Jaspers stood 0-2 (now 1-2), while the Dolphins were 1-2.
The Jaspers played this game after following a close loss to Fairleigh Dickinson (74-77), a postponement of their game against Central Connecticut last week due to unfit court conditions during a heavy rainstorm from the passing through of Hurricane Nicole, and a loss to Virginia Commonwealth University (56-73) in their season opener.
In addition, after being picked second in the MAAC preseason poll and ex-player Jose Perez named preseason player of the year, two weeks before the beginning of their season, unprecedented changes were made. Jasper’s ex-head coach Steve Masiello left after 11 years and some of his loyal players followed including star forward Perez who quickly entered the transfer portal and now is at West Virginia University. Coach Stores now leads the team who was the assistant coach to Masiello and before that a player.
On Sun., the revised 2022-2023 14 player roster of one graduate student, six fifth-years, two seniors, one junior, two sophomores, and two freshmen will travel along with the spirit squad of dance, cheer, and pep band to London for games against Northeastern on Nov. 24 and Army or Princeton on Nov. 26 during the Thanksgiving break.
“We want Jasper Nation to feel connected together whether we are here, in another building we are one big family,” said Stores. “That’s what it’s about.”