Manhattan (2-4) at Marist (2-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 7, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McCann Field House (2,998) -- Poughkeepsie, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Manhattan 1-0, Marist 0-1. Away Record: Manhattan 1-4, Marist 1-2. Neutral Record: Manhattan 0-0, Marist 1-2. Conference Record: Manhattan 0-0, Marist 0-0. Series Record: Manhattan leads, 23-14.
GAMES NOTES: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action kicks off on Friday night, as the Manhattan Jaspers pay a visit to the Marist Red Foxes.
This matchup continues a long stretch of road games for Manhattan, which has played five of its first six games away from home. In those contests, the Jaspers managed just one win by downing cross-town rival Fordham (65-58) at the end of November. In a trip to face George Washington in their last outing, the Jaspers were beaten back in a 67-55 final. Manhattan finally gets a home game against Siena on Sunday before setting out on another three-game road trip.
Marist has also spent the bulk of the early season on the road. After suffering a 69-57 loss to Stony Brook at home in the season opener, the Red Foxes have played six straight games away from McCann Field House. Three of those came during the Old Spice Classic in Orlando where the Red Foxes earned a 1-2 record. A 91-57 rout at the hands of Army is the last decision on the ledger. Marist can settle in on Friday as two more home games (Canisius and Maine) await.
Manhattan has won three straight games against Marist, including a season sweep last year. As a result, the Jaspers own a 23-14 series advantage.
Poor shooting in the second half doomed Manhattan against George Washington the last time out. The game was tied at 32-32 at halftime, but the Jaspers shot just 25.0 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes en route to the double-digit defeat. RaShawn Stores had 11 points as a reserve in a game in which Manhattan's bench outscored GW's, 27-8.
Manhattan has been searching for some kind of consistency on offense. The Jaspers are scoring only 56.8 ppg and shooting just below 40.0 percent from the field. The Jaspers' scoring average is one of the worst in the MAAC and has made them fall behind often with teams putting up 67.5 ppg. George Beamon (13.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) is a sizable guard who can score from both the outside and on the interior, although he has hit only 20.0 percent of his 3-point attempts this season as opposed to 42.7 percent last season. Michael Alvarado (10.3 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures and he also gets it done in the backcourt. Rhamel Brown (9.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) played just 10 minutes against GW but is one of only a couple of frontcourt options.
Marist just couldn't find its shot against Army, connecting on a mere 33.3 percent of its field goal attempts. Meanwhile, the Black Knights rained down from beyond the arc, outscoring the Red Foxes 45-24 from 3-point range. Marist also failed to clean the glass, with Army claiming a 53-24 rebounding edge. Devin Price scored 19 points to pace Marist, but he hit just 3-of-10 shots from long distance.
The Red Foxes can commiserate with Manhattan at the offensive end of the floor. In fact Marist has been even worse than the Jaspers, netting a paltry 54.1 ppg while shooting 36.1 percent from the floor. Those marks are both among the ten worst in the country. Falling short on the boards has also been a consistent problem, with the Red Foxes coming in with a -6.8 rebounding differential. Price (13.4 ppg) is the only player scoring in double figures, but he has been less than efficient shooting (.302). Adam Kemp (7.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Jay Bowie (6.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) are the only real contributors on the glass. Chavaughn Lewis (8.1 ppg) and Isaiah Morton (8.0 ppg) could be more productive if each could shoot better.
Playing for so long on the road might be part of the reason for each of these teams' poor offensive showings early on. Although Marist will be back at home this time around, Manhattan has shown more glimpses of improvement.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Manhattan 69, Marist 66
12/07 10:35:55 ET