8 Fateful Minutes

With 7:58 remaining Iona held a convincing 65-48 lead over Manhattan. The Gaels were rolling, but it was all about to unravel. From then on the Jaspers outscored the Gaels 27-7 and delivered the final knockout on Emmy Andujar’s banked in last-second three over Scott Machado. The 75-72 loss dealt a serious blow to Iona’s at-large hopes and made the MAAC title race a little more interesting.

“I think our guys took it way too complacent and they thought the game was over again and it’s a struggle with this team keeping their concentration and their motivation,” said Iona head coach Tim Cluess. “We’re really struggling with it and I have to do a better job of finding a way to motivate them better than I have been because this is happening way too often.”

During the final eight minutes every Manhattan player on the floor scored. Rhamel Brown, once the third-string center for the Jaspers, led the way with nine points, two boards, two blocks and a rebound during the final minutes. Brown’s two blocks on Mike Glover after the Jaspers cut the lead to seven helped Manhattan hold onto the momentum and seal the game.

“At that point in the game it was do or die,” Brown said. “We just played our hardest. We wanted it more than Iona. They’re a great team. They’re really competitive. They never gave up, but in the end the team that wanted it more got the win.”

Brown finished with 17 points, 11 boards and three blocks in 30 minutes.

“He’s a guy that dominates the game without having to score,” said Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello. “I’m so proud of him. He’s a joy to coach.”

Besides his game-winner, Andujar showed his versatility for the Jaspers as well. The freshman forward is often the best player on the floor for Manhattan. As Iona jumped out to a 39-22 first half lead that certainly wasn’t the case. Andujar played only seven minutes in the first half as he struggled with foul trouble. While the stat sheet said he had just one turnover, he also had some defensive miscues and didn’t grab a single board during the first 20 minutes. He grabbed four during the final eight minutes of the game. In another big rivalry game the young freshman was once again able to settle  into a rhythm. Overall he finished with 17 points, six boards and three assists in 25 minutes.

“I got in foul trouble, but I have teammates that help me be confident,” Andujar said. “I knew I was going to get it in the second half and I just kept my head in the game. Even though we were down a lot, with our style of play that we play I know we’re going to comeback and make our run.”

The Iona offense, which had looked unstoppable was stilted in the closing moments. Machado was brilliant for most of the game with 16 assists and just one turnover, but his 3-10 shooting prevented him from taking over the game. The senior point guard missed four shots down the stretch. Part of that seemed to be related to fatigue. While Manhattan forced just 11 Iona turnovers, during most of the second half the Jaspers forced Machado to work hard to cross the timeline with double teams and pressure. As a team the Gaels missed 11 shots down the stretch.

“This isn’t a wake up, this is a disgrace,” Cluess said.

Mike Glover scored his 1,000th point during the game in just his 54th contest with the Gaels, but it came in a bittersweet moment. Glover scored 18 points and grabbed eight boards. He missed just two free throws, but they were two key ones down the stretch. He also was contained by Brown in the final moments.

The loss will force people to concentrate on some of Iona’s flaws instead of its obvious strengths. The Gaels shot just nine free throws in the game and allowed Manhattan to grab 13 offensive rebounds. But what must be more frustrating for Cluess is that his team literally gave the game away. Those eight minutes will stay burned in the record for the rest of the season. They’ll haunt this team moving forward and continue to impact the MAAC until the end of the season.

Can Manhattan beat Iona?

Well, the simple answer to that question is “Yes.” Of course the Jaspers can beat the Gaels, even at the Hynes Athletic Center. If you’re playing the percentages Pomeroy gives Manhattan a 14% chance, Team Rankings says 5.8% and Accuscore says 13.8%. Let’s say it’s somewhere around 10%. That means that one out of every ten times Steve Masiello’s club pulls what some would consider a pretty big upset.

Continue reading “Can Manhattan beat Iona?”

Interesting reading

Two things you should check out: Dan Hanner at Real GM taking a look at teams that play a lot of freshmen and ones that don’t. Fordham is a good example of the former and Iona one of the best examples of the latter. Iona has one freshman on the roster, Josh Gomez. He’s played in six games and 10 minutes total. The other post to check out is Cracked Sidewalks’ update of Value Add. The list of the Top 100 includes Scott Machado of Iona (#36) and Tyler Murray of Wagner (#65). I’d expect to see Iona’s Mike Glover in the Top 100 soon as well.

A deeper look at Iona’s assists

Last night Iona dominated William & Mary in a wire-to-wire 83-65 win. The Gaels shot 32-62 (51.6%) from the field and had 21 assists in the game. (Ironically, they shot 16-31 in both halves.) I looked into Scott Machado’s assists in last night’s edition of the Assist Tracker. But I’m reposting that paragraph here because I want to look at him and his teammate Lamont “Momo” Jones side by side.

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Three Bob Cousy Nominees and Notes

Three local guys have been nominated for the Bob Cousy Award. Brian Barbour of Columbia, Bryan Dougher of Stony Brook and Scott Machado of Iona are all on the list. Of course Barbour and Dougher only play point guard because their teams require it in a pinch. Both are really playmakers in the truest sense. Even though the Cousy guys get to pick 60 names to start they always seem to miss someone. This year the four big whiffs seem to Phil Pressey of Missouri, Jordan Theodore of Seton Hall, Vincent Council of Providence and Nate Wolters of South Dakota State. (At least they remembered Jordan Taylor this season!)

Also in the news is the fact that St. Francis (NY) plays its first home game of the season in Brooklyn against Albany tonight. The Terriers played nine true road games (and are 3-6) before returning home. Even though he wasn’t playing at home Ben Mockford hit seven threes against Howard to earn NEC Player of the Week honors.

Hofstra’s Mike Moore was named the CAA Co-Player of the Week along with Drexel’s Samme Givens. Iona’s Mike Glover was named the MAAC Player of the Week.

Finally, if you love point guards you should check out my Assist Tracker. It’s going to be updated nightly with stats and insights into the guys with the most assist each night. (Even one big guy each evening.) Because I don’t want to clutter up the home page with those updates you’ll have to go to Assists page to find it though, so make sure to bookmark it.

Three thoughts from Iona’s OT win

Iona pulled out an overtime win at Denver on Wednesday night, 80-78. The dramatic win came from a Gaels team that played in a difficult environment against a talented team. Still, Tim Cluess’ team moves to 7-1 and (spoiler alert) will be No. 1 when the new New York City Power Poll comes out this afternoon. Here are three other thoughts from the game.

Continue reading “Three thoughts from Iona’s OT win”