Sunday, August 13, 2017

Belfast Classic, Gulf Coast Showcase highlight Jaspers' non-conference schedule

Projected to be one of MAAC's top teams this season, Steve Masiello and Manhattan will use two in-season tournaments to test themselves before league play as part of non-conference schedule. (Photo by Vincent Simone/NYC Buckets)

Five months after a last-second loss eliminated Manhattan from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, the Jaspers are back and ready to roll, releasing a 12-game non-conference schedule Friday morning that will prepare them for league play when that portion of the slate begins in late December.

For the first time since head coach Steve Masiello's first season in 2011-12, Manhattan will open its season at home, welcoming St. Francis Brooklyn to Draddy Gymnasium on November 15. This will be the third consecutive meeting between the Jaspers and Terriers, with Manhattan having taken each of the past two encounters since the inter-borough rivalry was rekindled in December 2014. The homestand continues three days later, as Ivy League contender Harvard makes their way to Riverdale on November 18.

The Jaspers will be competing in two in-season tournaments, beginning with the Gulf Coast Showcase, held from November 20-22. At the present time, the field for the eight-team event has yet to be revealed, but Manhattan will be playing three games at Germain Arena in Estero, Florida. Upon returning from the Sunshine State, a longtime local rival appears next on the ledger, as the Jaspers make the short jaunt to Rose Hill Gymnasium to take on Fordham in the 110th Battle of the Bronx, set for Sunday, November 26. Manhattan is 4-2 against the Rams in Masiello's tenure, and 57-52 all-time against their fellow Bronx brethren.

The meeting with Fordham sandwiches the Gulf Coast Showcase with the Jaspers' second multi-team competition, the Belfast Classic. While in Northern Ireland, Manhattan will first square off against Holy Cross on Friday, December 1, before entertaining either La Salle or Towson the following day. The last of three non-league home games is next on the schedule, as Morgan State returns to Draddy for a December 9 showdown. The Jaspers will be playing the Bears for the fourth straight season, but hosting the Baltimore school for the first time since December 2014, when Shane Richards became Manhattan's all-time three-point field goal leader at Morgan State's expense.

Following a week off for final exams, Manhattan hits the road for a stretch of three games in eight days, beginning against Tulsa on December 16. After the battle with the Golden Hurricane, Hofstra is next on the schedule, with the Jaspers and Pride matching wits on December 20 from Adelphi University. Hofstra's Mack Sports Complex will be the site of the university's mid-year commencement exercises that night, so although it is still a Hofstra home game, it will be held off their Hempstead campus.

Manhattan's final non-conference contest comes two days before Christmas, when the Jaspers take on Seton Hall in a December 23 matinee. All MAAC matchups will be released at a later date.

2017-18 Manhattan Non-Conference Schedule (all times TBD)
Wednesday, November 15: vs. St. Francis Brooklyn

Saturday, November 18: vs. Harvard

Monday, November 20 - Wednesday, November 22: Gulf Coast Showcase; Estero, Fla. (three games, tournament field TBD)

Sunday, November 26: at Fordham

Friday, December 1: vs. Holy Cross (Belfast Classic; Belfast, Northern Ireland)

Saturday, December 2: vs. La Salle or Towson (Belfast Classic; Belfast, Northern Ireland)

Saturday, December 9: vs. Morgan State

Saturday, December 16: at Tulsa

Wednesday, December 20: at Hofstra (Adelphi University; Garden City, NY)

Saturday, December 23: at Seton Hall

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