Emmy Andujar came just short of a triple-double, but his 20 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists helped Manhattan fend off Canisius in 78-69 Jasper win. (Photo courtesy of Vincent Simone via Big Apple Buckets)
Coming off two hard-fought wins against fellow MAAC contenders, the stage was set for Manhattan to fall victim to the proverbial trap game against a Canisius team that nearly defeated the Jaspers last month.
For the lions on the home bench, tonight provided another opportunity to go for the kill, as opposed to letting it come to them.
With four players scoring 16 or more points, led by 20 from Emmy Andujar, Manhattan (12-10, 9-4 MAAC) was able to survive a late Canisius (12-10, 7-6) rally, surging past the Golden Griffins by the final of 78-69 at Draddy Gymnasium for the Jaspers' third season sweep of a conference opponent this season.
"This is one of the best wins we've had since I've been here," a fired-up Steve Masiello passionately declared after the Jaspers won their fourth straight game and tenth in their last thirteen. "This is one of the best wins, and we talk about being lions. We were lions tonight. We came out with urgency, we didn't wait to get hit. We hit."
Complementing Andujar's effort was Ashton Pankey's 18-point, 9-rebound outing, while Shane Richards and Rich Williams chipped in with 16 points apiece. Zach Lewis' 25 led Canisius, and all scorers, in the losing cause for the Griffs, who began their two-game road trip on a down note.
A nip-and-tuck first half that ended with Manhattan taking a 30-28 lead into the locker room gave way to a 21-3 Jasper run that saw Canisius miss their first nine shots after the intermission. When Calvin Crawford's layup with 11:35 to go put the Jaspers up 51-31, the Griffs slowly began to chip away, coming within four points of the lead before Manhattan drained five consecutive free throws to provide the final margin of victory; the last of which from Pankey, who displayed patience far beyond his years in the win.
"I let the game come to me," said the junior forward. "Most of my points had to come off the offensive glass. A lot of teams, what they're doing is stacking in, a lot of guards are stacking in the paint, and I can't really get offense off of that because the spacing's not always right. Defensively, I just wanted to set the tone."