St. Francis tasted its third-straight defeat after a slow start and a 14-point deficit at the half.
The Terriers men’s basketball team attempted several second-half rallies, but fell 71–60 to Manhattan — injury-ridden and with just seven available players — at Draddy Gymnasium on Dec. 15.
“Give Manhattan all the credit,” said St. Francis coach Glenn Braica. “They got off a plane from Memphis Sunday and came out and played with great energy, great focus, and we didn’t. There are no excuses. We need to learn that you have to play every night. These games happen but we can’t accept them.”
Manhattan scored the first seven points of the game and never relinquished the lead. Guards Tyler Wilson and Rich Williams each had key three-pointers before Thomas Capuano hit a trey at the buzzer to give the Jaspers a 41–27 lead at the half.
St. Francis (3–7) attempted to come back on three separate occasions. It cut the deficit to eight points in the second half, but Manhattan regained control with less than five minutes to go when forward Zane Waterman and guard RaShawn Stores both notched three-pointers to keep the Jaspers comfortably ahead.
“The first half was kind of slow,” said Terriers forward Chris Hooper, who scored 15 points and had eight rebounds. “We went in for break, and coach told us to pick it up more and trust the offense. Trust what we do on offense. Get the ball inside and play from the inside out. That’s what we did. It picked up a little bit.”
Antonio Jenifer led St. Francis with a career-high 17 points on six-of-eight shooting. Tyreek Jewell notched 12 points, and Yunus Hopkinson had nine.
Shane Richards scored 19 points to lead Manhattan (2–7) and stop a five-game skid. He went five of 12 from the field and seven-of-eight from the free-throw line with eight rebounds and two steals. The Jaspers shot more than 55 percent overall and made eight of 13 three-pointers. Williams added 15 points. Manhattan’s lack of depth is something it is learning to deal with.
“We stay with our process,” Jaspers coach Steve Masello said. “We grind it out. We get better everyday. We’re a blue-collar program that rolls our sleeves up. We’re not afraid of adversity.”