One of heroes in Saturday's season-opening win against La Salle, Michael Alvarado and Manhattan arrive for Jaspers' meeting versus Columbia with a full head of positive momentum. (Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News)
Following a thrilling double-overtime win on the road against a reigning Sweet 16 program, Manhattan College takes to the road once again tomorrow night, this time with a much easier commute as they face Columbia University in a rematch of a game the Lions won last year.
"I think this is a huge win for our program," Steve Masiello said shortly after the Jaspers emerged from Philadelphia with a 99-90 victory over La Salle that required ten extra minutes to decide the outcome. "I'm very, very proud of our guys. It was a total team effort."
Manhattan now shifts their sights from Saturday's 99-point, 51-rebound performance to avenging a bitter loss to their local adversary Columbia, who scored a mild upset with a 69-58 win at Levien Gym last December 29th. The biggest difference for the Jaspers in this matchup is the return of George Beamon, whose 24 points against La Salle were a team high in Manhattan's season opener, while Emmy Andujar and Ashton Pankey will once again join Rhamel Brown in a three-headed frontcourt monster.
Columbia loses the services of point guard Brian Barbour this season, but enters their second game of the season off a 73-54 home victory against Maryland-Eastern Shore. In the win, junior college transfer Cory Osetkowski posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, with guards Isaac Cohen and Grant Mullins combining for 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Junior shooting guard Steve Frankoski, whose 18 points and six three-pointers in last year's win over Manhattan, did not play in the Lions' opener.
For the Jaspers, their biggest key to victory; much as it was this past Saturday at La Salle, will be offensive rebounds and the ability to attack the glass on second chances, especially against a bigger front line of the 6-11 Osetkowski and 6-10 freshman Luke Petrasek. If Manhattan is able to tip the ball back to George Beamon and Michael Alvarado, whose three-pointer in the second overtime gave the Jaspers the lead for good, the boys from Riverdale will be able to dictate the offensive terms of the game.
Manhattan tips off against Columbia tomorrow night at 7 p.m. from Levien Gym, with the Jaspers taking advantage of their short commute by taking the 1 train just a handful of stops before arriving on the court at 120th Street and Broadway.