Sliding into center spot due to lack of depth, Rich Williams did not disappoint, collecting 15 points and seven rebounds as Manhattan defeated St. Francis Brooklyn. (Photo courtesy of Richard Restivo via Big Apple Buckets)
A handful of observations encompassing both the Manhattan and St. Francis Brooklyn camps after the Jaspers' 71-60 victory over the Terriers Monday night at Draddy Gymnasium:
- Rich Williams, the center?
Manhattan's ever-present depth issues thrust the 6-5 Williams into that position for stretches as Steve Masiello preserved Zane Waterman and Samson Akilo before foul trouble could rear its ugly head. The Brooklyn swingman's 15-point, 7-rebound effort may seem pedestrian to some, but considering portions of it were played somewhat out of position, it became more important on this evening. "I like banging down there in front of the post," Williams admitted, first commenting about his willingness to do whatever it takes to help the Jaspers win games. Masiello praised the effort as a "very encouraging sign if we get healthy, when we get healthy, that your twos and threes (Williams and Shane Richards, who had eight rebounds of his own) are capable of doing that."
- Some quick Manhattan stats:
The Jaspers shot a season-best 56 percent (25-for-45) from the floor Monday night, and enhanced their efficient and smart shot selection with an 8-of-13 showing from three-point range, contributing to a .644 effective field goal percentage. Manhattan also limited a St. Francis team that attacks the offensive glass to just six rebounds on that side of the ball, and; courtesy of sports information director Kevin Ross, improved to 20-2 when collecting ten or more steals, registering 11 thefts to tie a season-high.
- Without Glenn Sanabria, St. Francis' point guard spot is a work in progress.
The always humble Glenn Braica refused to make excuses in the wake of his sophomore floor general having been ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury suffered last month against Saint Louis. "It has nothing to do with him," a brutally honest Terriers head coach stated. "We have what we have, there's no excuses, and we've got to move on." In his stead, Yunus Hopkinson has attempted to pick up the slack, and has done so to positive reviews. "He's had some good games," Braica admitted, "and he's still learning. He's a guy who, his first two years, did not play major minutes, and he's still developing into that role. He's got to understand that you've got to do it every night and be a leader, and he's done well in a lot of games this year."
- Antonio Jenifer should be a major spark plug off the bench.
With Jalen Cannon gone, the Terriers have relied on the rebounding prowess of Chris Hooper to close the gap on the glass. In recent games, the range of Jenifer has served as the antidote to life without Cannon's offensive productivity, and the senior's 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting confirmed such. "He's done a really good job the last two games, and he's got some areas he's got to work on," said Braica, "but he's a really good guy, and he's doing well."
- Manhattan's 19 forced turnovers were business as usual for the Jaspers, but...
From a St. Francis perspective, some of the miscues may have been of their own doing. "Manhattan does a good job creating turnovers," Braica prefaced, "but I thought a lot of them were unforced, and that, to me, is a lack of concentration. There's no excuses. These guys (Manhattan) got off a plane from Memphis yesterday and played very well today, and we didn't. No excuses."