In the upper tier BCS conferences, the routine is similar to the mids and lower leagues. The stakes are different. The third place team in say, the ACC or Big 12, is looking to the Big Dance, and uses these last few weeks to play for a higher seed. The other tiers, one bid conferences, as the coaches say, “play for March.”
Manhattan of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is in that latter situation. Their 79-70 victory over Fairfield at Draddy Gymnasium on Sunday was significant on a few counts.
Resiliency. Less than 48 hours removed from a tough setback at the hands of rival Iona, the Jaspers were prepared, ready and responded.
Defense. Coach Steve Masiello knows this is a different group from last year’s MAAC champion. That group was proficient in keeping opposing field goal percentages low. This one forces turnovers. Fairfield was guilty of 20 miscues. A 30 percent turnover rate. Mission accomplished for the Jaspers.
Shortened practices and game preparation, as mentioned, are crucial this time of year. So is knowing your team. Your strengths and weaknesses and utilizing the former while minimizing the latter.
Official Brian Dorsey, who worked the game alongside Wally Rutecki and Gary Prager:
RaShawn Stores and Tyler Wilson scramble for a loose ball:
Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson studies the situation. To the left, seated, is former Princeton and Northwestern coach Bill Carmody, now a Fairfield consultant:
During a free throw, Emmy Andujar gets a rare rest:
Shane Richards, who scored 20 second-half points, getting some defensive attention:
Associate head coach Matt Grady goes over a few details with Richards on the Jasper bench:
Richards, coach Steve Masiello and Andujar meeting the media: