Emmy Andujar's 20 points led Manhattan in 87-79 victory over Siena, moving Jaspers to .500 for first time this season. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Fuhrmann of the Manhattan Quadrangle)
Five days removed from what Steve Masiello termed a good bounce-back win against Monmouth Sunday afternoon, Manhattan returned to their home floor in search of a plateau that the reigning MAAC champions had yet to achieve this season, a .500 record.
What ensued could arguably be considered the Jaspers' best offensive effort of the season, as five players ended the night in double figures for the second time this year en route to Manhattan (10-10, 7-4 MAAC) shot a season-high 54 percent from the field in disposing of a resilient Siena team by the final of 87-79 at Draddy Gymnasium.
"I'm very proud of the bench," Masiello gushed of his reserves, who outscored Siena's substitutes by a 30-13 margin, led by 13 points from Rich Williams. "I thought Calvin (Crawford) and Zane (Waterman) gave us great minutes offensively. Zane Waterman, if he can start understanding our defense, he's going to be a terrific player here, as is Calvin. For freshmen to come into this environment, I'm very, very happy with them."
Manhattan was led by Emmy Andujar, whose 20 points tied Siena's Lavon Long for the game high. The Jaspers also received 14 points from Shane Richards, 13 from Ashton Pankey, and 10 from RaShawn Stores, as the quartet of starters joined Williams to give Manhattan five double-digit scorers for the first time since January 10, when the Jaspers posted an 84-75 win over Niagara.
The game was close throughout, with Manhattan leading 43-41 at halftime and trading baskets with the Saints (8-12, 5-6) for most of the evening. Long's layup with 11:40 remaining in regulation put Siena ahead 59-58, but it was the last advantage the reigning CBI champions would enjoy, as Andujar's basket 23 seconds later started a 9-2 Jasper run that gave Manhattan control the rest of the way while the Saints lost Javion Ogunyemi and Marquis Wright to foul trouble.
"We continue to get better," Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos remarked after five of his own players posted double-figure point totals, "but there's a few things we can't do, some basic things we've got to keep working on."
Following the win for the Jaspers, their second straight to offset a two-game losing streak suffered at the hands of Rider and Quinnipiac, Masiello offered yet another honest outlook on his team's state of mind as Manhattan heads down the Garden State Parkway on Sunday for their second meeting with Monmouth in an eight-day span.
"I think we're a little behind," he offered when asked if the Jaspers were where he thought they might be at this point in the season. "You guys keep talking about everyone else. Forget about us. We don't want any praise now. We know where we need to be come March, and we will be there."