Thursday, December 10, 2015

Columbia 72, Manhattan 71: 5 Observations

The latest handful of takeaways as Manhattan dropped to 1-6 on the year, falling to Columbia Wednesday evening by the final of 72-71 on Luke Petrasek's game-winning three-point field goal with 6.4 seconds remaining in regulation:

  • Two unlikely stars stood out.
    Most fans may have come into this matchup expecting to see Shane Richards lead the Jaspers against Columbia's Maodo Lo, the all-Ivy League guard who could conceivably be a first team all-Met selection at the end of the season. However, Steve Masiello's desire to take away the three-point line, coupled with Richards' 2-for-11 night from the field, took the guards out of the game by and large. What those at Draddy Gymnasium did bear witness to, though, was a career night for both Petrasek, whose 26 points were a personal best in addition to leading all scorers, and sophomore Zane Waterman, who collected 22 points to pace Manhattan. "That was a big thing for us," said Masiello of the emphasis on guarding the three-point shot. "They're a team that shoots 38 percent from three, they average 22 attempts, so a big thing for us tonight was the three-point line, and I thought we did that."
  • Zane Waterman's 22 points were not an aberration.
    The 6-9 forward established himself as the Jaspers' hot hand early and often, collecting 16 of his 22 points in the opening stanza and serving as perhaps the most consistent Manhattan shooter on the floor. His 7-for-13 effort, with three three-pointers sprinkled in, was the latest flash of what Masiello has expected since signing him out of North Carolina. "I think it's a process for him," the coach said of Waterman. "I think he's understanding when he can go and when he can't go. He did some good things tonight, but defensively he did some bad things, and that's part of the process. Overall, I'm encouraged."
  • By guarding against the three...
    Manhattan willingly conceded the lane to Columbia, as noted by the Lions' overwhelming 36-16 edge in points in the paint. Petrasek, who finished at least five dunks over the course of the night, was the biggest beneficiary of the Jasper strategy, but at the same time, Alex Rosenberg (19 points) struggled through a 3-for-12 outing in which all but six of his points came at the foul line. However, Columbia was held to just four makes from distance over the course of the night, and the backcourt tandem of Lo and Grant Mullins was limited to only 14 points.

  • Columbia's bigger lineup is more than just an experiment.Late in the second half, Smith used Lukas Meisner off his bench with Rosenberg and Petrasek to form a three-headed monster of a front line against a smaller Manhattan lineup. "I think that's the new normal for us," he revealed when asked of his reasoning to use that combination. "I think we want to be bigger, I think we'll be able to get the ball off the boards better, so we're excited about that."

  • "Champions Week"
    That was Columbia head coach Kyle Smith's description of the next few games for the Lions, who, after Wednesday night's win, now prepare to host Tournament semifinalist NJIT and reigning Northeast Conference champion Robert Morris at Levien Gymnasium in the coming days. "It's like the fourth lap of a mile," he said of his team's schedule. "We've got teams that are postseason tested, and that gives you confidence. All these programs have confidence, and for us to see what we could do with them, it'll be a great atmosphere."

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