Shane Richards was one of four Jaspers in double figures as Manhattan cruised to 4-0 start in MAAC play after 83-57 win over Fairfield. (Photo courtesy of Manhattan College)
Following a gritty road win over Saint Peter's Thursday night, Manhattan was looking for a smooth performance to guide them to a 4-0 start in MAAC play.
Fortunately for the Jaspers, they were able to get off the runway cleanly on a night where some others could not.
In a game that was delayed 30 minutes due to Fairfield being caught up in the traffic jam caused by an airplane making an emergency landing on the Major Deegan Expressway earlier in the day, Manhattan made short work of the Stags en route to an 83-57 defeat of their rivals from the Nutmeg State, the largest margin of victory this season for the Jaspers, who are now 11-2 and winners of eight straight since a 79-75 setback at the hands of Fordham on November 26th.
"I thought our defense set the tone and got us some easy transition buckets," head coach Steve Masiello said after his team improved to 4-0 in MAAC play, extending the program's best start since the 2001-02 season, when he was an assistant in Riverdale under Bobby Gonzalez, who led the Jaspers to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 2003 and 2004. "It led to some good things, and I thought we handled it like a mature, experienced team."
Four players ended the night in double figures for Manhattan, led by 19 points from George Beamon, who has been held to single digits just once in his senior season. Rich Williams chipped in with 14 off the bench, while Shane Richards added 13 to complement the 12 points from senior forward Rhamel Brown in a game where the Jaspers shot 51 percent (23-for-45) from the field.
Despite what will go in the books as one of, if not the most dominating performances Manhattan has had this season, their third-year leader remains realistic in assessing his group, declaring that they are far from perfect as they continue through a season filled with high expectations.
"I think we're at about a C, C-plus," Masiello said after the game, "but in January, that's where you want to be. There were some situations where we wouldn't read the shoulders of the offensive player, and that's a big thing we talk about. We had a season-high 51 deflections, but we've got to read the shoulders."
Maurice Barrow led Fairfield in the losing effort with 17 points as the Stags were hampered by foul trouble and an inability to break the Manhattan press defense, leading to 20 Jasper points off 18 forced turnovers.
Manhattan hits the road once again for their next contest when they take on Quinnipiac at 7 p.m. Thursday night from the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Connecticut. The Jaspers are 9-0 away from Draddy Gym to start the season, with eight of those nine wins coming in true road games.