Despite buzzer-beating exhibition loss, Steve Masiello remains focused on where his Manhattan team will be during the season. (Photo courtesy of Manhattan College Athletics)
A handful of takeaways, with some quotes sprinkled in, from Manhattan's 89-86 defeat at the hands of Adelphi in Monday night's exhibition at Draddy Gymnasium:
- Depth (or lack thereof) was a factor.
Injuries to RaShawn Stores and Jermaine Lawrence among others kept the Jaspers' resources to just eight players, but even with the shortage of manpower, the trademark resiliency was on full display as Manhattan erased a 16-point Adelphi lead with a 19-3 run before Adelphi's Michael Coffey drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer. "We've just got to get healthy," Steve Masiello bluntly stated after the game. "It's hard to win with this style with six guys. It's just tough to do. In our style, it's hard to play guys for 29 minutes, and we had guys gutting it out for 38."
- Manhattan's defense still needs improvement.
Masiello did admit that he has no problem with mistakes at this time of the year, valuing the learning experiences that will come along the way, but the facts are the Jaspers allowed Adelphi to shoot 59 percent from the field and 18-of-36 from three-point range despite a plus-10 turnover margin and 10 steals in the process. "On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a 1," Masiello candidly admitted, "just because we made some mistakes you're supposed to make this time of year. I was just surprised at who made them. We didn't switch pick-and-rolls properly, we didn't back tip the basketball the way we normally do. We made so many mistakes, but when I give it a 1, I'm happy about it because I think there's so much upside. But obviously when a team comes in and shoots 50 percent from three, you're not going to win many games, especially when they're taking 36 attempts."
- Shane Richards is being held to an even higher standard than everyone suspects.
The senior forward had an impressive performance tonight with 38 points, but when asked of his satisfaction with Richards' outing, Masiello held nothing back. "You've got to dominate the game without the basketball," the coach said of Richards, who added just four rebounds and one assist to his stellar point total. "Shane Richards should be an eight-nine-rebound guy like George Beamon was. He should be a six-seven-assist guy. That's what Shane Richards should be, that's what my expectations are."
- Tonight's game was a solid test for the Jaspers' opener.
Masiello was emphatic about this point when explaining how vital this exhibition contest was in preparation for Manhattan opening the season at Saint Mary's one week from tonight. "Knowing how Coach (Randy Bennett) is, I know he'll go four out, one in," Masiello said after watching Adelphi run almost the same style. "That's something we've got to get good at. It's a very unorthodox style to play against, especially when you're a zone team."
- The process.
Much like legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler's decree of "the team, the team, the team," Masiello held the long-term goals of his team in the same utmost regard. "It's not about the win or the loss right now," he reiterated. "I'm fine with losing early. My job is to get this team ready for February and March, clicking on all cylinders, and I think we've done a good job of that the last three years. I'm okay with getting beat up a little bit as long as we don't die, and we're not going to die."