Iona Handles Manhattan in MAAC Rivalry

In the jam packed Draddy Gym Tuesday night the Manhattan Jaspers hosted the Iona Gaels in their regular season MAAC rivalry. Both teams came into the game in need of a conference win, as they strived to reach .500 in the MAAC. With strong offensive rebounding, and a stingy second-half defense, Iona captured the local rivalry 82-67. Manhattan started the game strong and held an eight-point lead 18-10 at the 13:45 mark of the first half, but with ten first half offensive rebounds Iona was able to pull within three points of the lead (43-40) with four seconds remaining in the half. Iona tied the game at 43 when Rickey McGill hit a three pointer from just inside of half court at the horn.

Iona started the second half scoring five straight points to give the Gaels a 48-43 lead. With the score tied for the ninth time at 59-59, Sam Cassell Jr. would hit a three-point goal with 10:27 left in the contest, and Iona would not relinquish the lead, closing the game on a 23-8 run for the 82-67 win.

Manhattan coach Steve Masiello noted that his team “did not do a good job attacking the rim,” feeling like the players “settled too much, not going to the basket and finishing strong.”

It appeared Manhattan had difficulty going to the basket after Taylor Bessick, who played only seven minutes in the first half, took control of the defensive lane during the fourteen minutes he played in the second half. Bessick along with Jordan Washington, limited the effectiveness of the Manhattan inside game by not allowing any of the Jaspers shots to go unchallenged.

Coach Masiello pointed out that his team “defended very well, holding Iona to 35% shooting in the first half, and 42% for the game,” but he noted that the Jaspers needed to “limit Iona to one shot.”

The coach was not pleased that his team gave 13 offensive rebounds “to a team playing four guards” which allowed Iona to keep the score close until their offensive improved in the second half.

Masiello would like to see his team improve on the defensive boards as he said, “sticking to the blue print of strong field goal and three point defense, which we had in the first half.”

Manhattan will now travel to New Jersey to face conference-leading Monmouth on Friday evening while Iona plays Fairfield at home.

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