Manhattan head coach Heather Vulin and forward Kayla Grimme field postgame questions following Jaspers' win over Saint Peter's. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - Two teams almost in identical situations. Both finished 2016 with a good conference win. Both were winless in 2017, coming into Sunday with six straight losses. For Manhattan and Saint Peter’s, there were some close calls, but no entries into the win column in this new year.
In a game featuring six lead changes, the Jaspers put together a strong second half to defeat the Peacocks, 69-65, at the Yanitelli Center. Both teams are now 2-8 in MAAC play. Manhattan is 6-13 overall, while Saint Peter’s fell to 3-16.
First five possessions:
Manhattan: Turnover, turnover, three-point FG, field goal, missed FG
Saint Peter’s: Missed FG, turnover, turnover, field goal, turnover
After the first five, Manhattan led 5-2 at the 6:49 mark of the opening period. The moderate pace was not the issue for Saint Peter’s, but three turnovers in five possessions were.
A 126 offensive efficiency is something to praise, but not when it is a combined effort. After a quarter, Manhattan led 11-8. The efficiencies told the kind of quarter it was:
Manhattan 73, Saint Peter’s 53 (15 possessions)
Saint Peter’s has had some success running set plays for back door cuts or dribble penetrating to kick it out on the perimeter. Manhattan tried a few threes early, but basically committed to an inside game. The second quarter shot chart saw seven Jasper field goals, six in the paint, but they trailed the Peacocks at halftime, 29-28.
The first four minutes of the second half were won by Saint Peter’s, 8-5. The lead was now four, but of greater significance, the offense that came alive for the Peacocks in the second quarter was still running efficiently.
Possessions: Manhattan 66, Saint Peter’s 65
Offensive efficiency: Manhattan 105, Saint Peter’s 100
eFG%: Manhattan 53, Saint Peter’s 54
Free Throw Rate: Manhattan 24, Saint Peter’s 31
Offensive Rebound%: Manhattan 31, Saint Peter’s 27
Turnover Rate: Manhattan 21, Saint Peter’s 22
Leading scorers and EF:
Manhattan: Kayla Grimme, 24 points, EF 33.
Saint Peter’s: Talah Hughes, 22 points, EF 30.
What Manhattan did well: Heed coach Heather Vulin’s halftime advice, step up the intensity and put together a strong second half on the offensive end.
What Saint Peter’s did well: Give a good offensive showing overall, highlighted by 7-of-13 from three-point range, leading to an impressive 54 percent effective field goal mark.
A strong finish of the third carrying into the fourth quarter saw Manhattan build a six-point lead. Saint Peter’s would answer, then fall victim on the defensive end as the Jaspers continuously got in the lane and converted.
Talah Hughes got the call in the fourth quarter and the 5-foot-10 junior responded. She scored six of Saint Peter’s eight field goals the final ten minutes en route to her team-high 22 points. “Talah sometimes lets the game come to her, then get aggressive,” assistant coach Phyllis Mangina said. “We need her to get offensively aggressive the first three quarters, not just the fourth.” Hughes also paced the Peacocks with six rebounds.
Kayla Grimme, a 6-foot-2 junior center, shot 10-of-19, including making three of five from long range. She added a game-high 11 rebounds in 34 minutes. The one drawback was a team-high four turnovers.
Manhattan led 34-24 on points in the paint and 21-11 on points off the bench. Saint Peter’s had a higher turnover rate, but Pat Coyle’s club inflicted damage with a 14-7 advantage on points off turnovers.
Efficiencies showed a marked contrast, as Manhattan jumped from a first-half 85 to a 124 in the second half, while Saint Peter’s went from 91 to 109. Both coaches agreed that the respective offenses got on track the second half, Manhattan’s more than that of the Peacocks.
“Our focus was not what it should be in the first half. We discussed that at halftime and I thought we came out and responded, getting on track. This is Division I, and each day, the opposition will compete. We had a few in double digits and that is something that hasn’t happened a lot for us. We made shots and our offense was in rhythm and we rebounded. Kayla had an excellent game, and from day one, I have said she is one of the best post players in the MAAC. Her game was in balance and she scored well, given her shot attempts.” - Manhattan coach Heather Vulin
“We were hungry for a win. We had some close calls recently, but it was nice to pull this one out at the end. I had some great looks, but credit my teammates for getting me the ball. This was a game I really needed to step up.”- Manhattan’s Kayla Grimme
“A disappointing loss. We were better offensively, but Manhattan did some good things on offense as well. The young players are drawing from their game experience. You can talk all you want, but they have to experience these things in a one-on-one situation. This is all part of growing pains having so many young players. The offense will come, but we need to focus defensively. Every night, you challenge them. You learn on the fly. You help them learn, but again, a young group does the learning on the floor.”- Saint Peter’s assistant coach Phyllis Mangina