Michael Alvarado showed no sign of letting up tonight, going for 21 points, 5 assists and 7 steals in Manhattan's 90-68 victory over Siena. (Photo courtesy of Manhattan College)
Four days removed from a hard-fought overtime victory against Marist, it was supposed to be a little harder for Manhattan against longtime nemesis Jimmy Patsos and Siena tonight, especially with this game being the Jaspers' second straight without leading scorer George Beamon.
Steve Masiello and his team never got that message.
On a night where four players ended the contest in double figures, Manhattan made short work of the Saints, defeating Siena by the final of 90-68 to improve to 13-3 on the year and 6-1 in MAAC play, with a road trip to Fairfield on deck Saturday afternoon.
"I thought we came out much better," Masiello said after the game, which featured yet another star turn from Michael Alvarado as the senior guard scored his 1,000th career point. "We kind of made a statement in a sense that we looked more comfortable."
Siena did not fade away easily, however, keeping the game within reach late into the second half after Brett Bisping pulled the Saints within 10 with 6:17 to go on a layup that cut the Jaspers' lead to 70-60.
It was as close as the former three-time reigning MAAC champions would get, though, as a 13-0 Manhattan run started by a pair of Alvarado free throws snuffed out any and all chance of a comeback on a night where the Jaspers scored 39 points off 23 Siena turnovers en route to posting their highest point total since a 99-90 double overtime victory over La Salle in Manhattan's season opener.
"My teammates continued to tell me to push the ball," said Alvarado after his latest coming-out party, which featured 21 points, five assists and 7 steals, "and that's what I'm going to keep doing."
The Bronx native is now averaging 26 points per game over Manhattan's last three games, starting with his 23-point, 10-rebound effort against Quinnipiac a week ago tonight before a career-high 33 points on Sunday lifted the Jaspers past a scrappy Marist team.
Four Saints also ended the night in double figures, led by Rob Poole, who posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in Siena's final tuneup before their rematch with defending league champion Iona on Sunday in New Rochelle. However, the night was all about the team who, for all intents and purposes, have a legitimate claim to the title of best basketball team in the city of New York.
"Being good and doing your job on winning teams is a totally separate conversation," Masiello declared when assessing good players being rewarded despite a subpar record, "and I don't think our guys get enough credit for that."