By David Cordova
Now that the month of November is here, college basketball programs are trying to get back into the swing of things, and trying to avenge what happened in the previous season.
For the Manhattan Jaspers, the 2015-16 season was a very painful memory, as there were a lot of injuries and inexperience. They finished the season 13-18, going 9-11 in MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) play, and losing in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals to Siena.
This year’s Jaspers are back with more experience and more healthier with more depth in the front court (they have four players ranging from 6-8 to 7-2) and experienced guards, only losing leaders such as Rashawn Stores and recent NBA Development League draft pick Shane Richards (Rio Grande Valley Vipers).
Manhattan 99, Nyack 70
Their first true test of the 2016-17 season would be against none other than Division II Nyack College. In the beginning, it was a very close game for both teams. The Warriors were kept close by the scoring of senior guard Robert Tyler, as they tied the game at 11-11 with 11:46 to go in the first half.
Later on in the the half, juniors Zane Waterman and Calvin Crawford helped the Jaspers pull away with 28 first-half points combined, which brought them into halftime leading 47-38.
In the beginning of the second half, the Jaspers started running their transition game and blew the game wide open with a three by sophomore guard Thomas Capuano as they held a 65-45 lead with over 13 minutes left in the second half.
Although Nyack held their own in the first half, they were no match for Manhattan as the Jaspers outhustled them and dominated them in the post as well as in their running game. The Jaspers bench outscored the Warriors, 42-18, and capitalized on second-chance points, 26-11, which contributed to the 29-point victory for Manhattan.
Waterman led all scorers with 20 points and 6 rebounds, Crawford added 15 points and 7 rebounds and freshman Aaron Walker added 14 points, with a couple of high-rising dunks. For Nyack, Tyler added 26 points on 10-for-18 shooting and sophomore guard Shawn Witherspoon added 12 points in the loss.
This game showed what the Jaspers are like at full strength, which is something that was lacking last season. The first test of the season is on Friday, November 11th against Bucknell. Will the Jaspers keep this up this great, frenetic style of play throughout the entire season? Only time will tell. After all, it’s only November. At this moment, all programs need time to get adjusted to a new season.