Manhattan (19-6) at Monmouth (10-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 19, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The MAC (4,100) -- West Long Brach, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Manhattan 7-3, Monmouth 7-6. Away Record: Manhattan 11-3, Monmouth 3-11. Neutral Record: Manhattan 1-0, Monmouth 0-0. Conference Record: Manhattan 12-4, Monmouth 4-12. Series Record: Manhattan leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: With precious few games remaining in the season, the Manhattan Jaspers set their sights on another victory when they visit the Monmouth Hawks in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action.
Manhattan is one of four teams still alive in the conference title chase, as it is tied for second place with Quinnipiac and Canisius (12-4). The Jaspers have won five straight contests, with their last lost coming on Jan. 31 against first-place Iona. They will have a shot at revenge next Friday against the Gaels, but they will face Siena first.
Monmouth has struggled to find consistent success in its first season in the MAAC. The Hawks enter this bout with losses in seven straight outings. They are in ninth place in the league standings (4-12), with an overall record of 10-17. They will continue their current four-game homestand this Saturday against Saint Peter's.
These teams have already met once this season, although that matchup occurred back on Dec. 8. Manhattan earned a 75-66 victory at home in that contest, improving to 4-2 in the short-lived series.
George Beamon scored 27 points to lead five players in double figures as Manhattan topped Niagara, 90-72, the last time out. As a team, the Jaspers connected on 58.6 percent of their shots from the floor, scored 20 points off turnovers, and dominated the Purple Eagles in the paint (50-24).
Beamon (19.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is one of the better two-way players in the conference, providing a huge boost offensively, while using his size and athleticism to defend well at the other end. Beamon is third in the MAAC in scoring, but he has only one teammate who is also averaging in double figures, that being Michael Alvarado (13.1 ppg, 4.3 apg, 1.5 spg). However, Alvarado is important as more than just a scorer, as he ranks among the top-five players in the MAAC in both assists and steals. Rhamel Brown (9.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.8 bpg) may not score as much, but he is an intimidating force on defense, ranking second in the country in blocks.
It took two overtimes for Monmouth to decide its contest with Marist on Sunday, a decision that went against the Hawks, 96-92. Monmouth did own a sizable edge on the interior, outscoring the Red Foxes, 48-22, in the paint to go with a 36-18 advantage on the glass. However, it was outscored, 45-21, from 3-point range.
Deon Jones (15.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Andrew Nicholas (14.1 ppg) are the leading scorers for the Hawks and the only players averaging in double figures on the season. Jones finished with a season-high 27 points in 47 minutes against Marist, and Nicholas tacked on 16 points, although he connected on just 6- of-17 field goal attempts. Nicholas' inefficient shooting has been an issue all season, as he is only knocking down 37.4 percent from the field. Josh James (8.1 ppg) is a solid contributor off the bench, but the Hawks really lack scoring depth, relying too heavily on Jones and Nicholas.
Manhattan is an underrated defensive team, with Brown and Beamon being two of the better defenders in the conference. The Jaspers have also had a ton of success on the road (11-3), which should continue against a Monmouth team that struggles to put forth consistent offensive performances.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Manhattan 76, Monmouth 67
02/19 10:36:47 ET