Thursday, November 29, 2012

Battle Of The Bronx: Quotes, Takeaways & Nuggets

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Manhattan coach Steve Masiello reacts favorably to one of many great plays in Jaspers' 65-58 win over Fordham.  (Photo courtesy of the author's personal collection)

Fordham head coach Tom Pecora's opening statement:

"Down the stretch, they just 'out-toughed' us.  We killed ourselves by fouling and not staying disciplined defensively."

On potential excuses to be made for Fordham's 1-5 start:

"We're not young, we're not inexperienced.  I don't want to hear that garbage.  If they (the players) accept losing, they'll accept it their entire life.  We're going to have a spirited practice tomorrow morning before we go to Harvard.  It's not going to get any easier."

On Fordham's nonconference schedule:

"You'll never see a schedule like this again, but it is what it is."

On the absence of Chris Gaston:

"I've played three guards my whole career as a coach, but they were tough.  We never had rebounding issues.  We weren't getting anything out of playing small and that hurt us.  Other guys have to step up and rebound the basketball...it can't just be (Ryan) Canty, (Travion) Leonard and (Ryan) Rhoomes."

On when to expect Gaston back:

"He's not coming back until, hopefully, the Princeton game, at the earliest."

On Ryan Canty:

"I think he played within himself...he did the things he could do.  He was a monster on the offensive glass."

On the second half:

"(Michael) Alvarado took the game over and that was the difference."

Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello's opening statement:

"It was a very good win for us.  Obviously, there's a lot of room for improvement, but I'm real happy with the 'W.'  Fordham knew our stuff pretty well."

On the Jaspers' ball handling down the stretch:

"What we spoke about was, 'Don't give them the second shot,' and we got every loose ball in the last six minutes."

On Michael Alvarado:

"He hates to lose more than I do, and sometimes I have to keep him up."

On Manhattan's defensive effort:

"We gave them 17 extra shots in the first half, and we still had a three-point lead.  What we try to do with great players like that (Branden Frazier and Bryan Smith) is make them shoot a low percentage."

Nuggets Of Note:

- Fordham's interior presence actually looks better without Chris Gaston.  After pulling down seven rebounds against Fairfield, Ryan Canty had the game of his life with a career-high 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting, carrying the Rams with Travion Leonard plagued through most of the game by foul trouble.  The Ram defense also stepped up in a big way, forcing 27 Manhattan turnovers and coming away with a plus-12 margin in that category; although most of that was forged by the 15-5 turnover disparity in the opening half, not to mention limiting George Beamon to just 10 points, well below the Jaspers' leading scorer's 24-point average.

- Branden Frazier, Bryan Smith, and Jeff Short; all of whom had been shooting the ball rather well to begin the year, shot a collective 5-for-31 from the field.  Frazier scored all of his 16 points in the second half due to picking up three fouls before the intermission, while Short was a John Starks-esque 2-for-16 and Smith missed each of the four shots he took, fouling out with just one free throw on his ledger.

- Frazier and Michael Alvarado made the most of their nights at the free throw line, knocking down 19 of the 22 combined foul shots they attempted.  Frazier had made each of his first nine before missing the front end of a 1-and-1 with 52 seconds left, ultimately sealing the win for the Jaspers along with his two turnovers in the final 2:22.

- In his first start of the season, sophomore Donovan Kates made the most of it for Manhattan, scoring 15 points and carrying the Manhattan backcourt while George Beamon was being contained by Fordham's defense in the first half.


- In time, Travion Leonard could very well be an all-Atlantic 10 player.  In the first half, he showed off his impressive rebounding prowess, getting to the offensive glass twice in the opening minutes and using his bruising physique to drive inside and grab a bucket off one of those rebounds.

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