Quinnipiac (20-10) vs. Manhattan (23-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, March 9, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: MassMutual Center (7,552) -- Springfield, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Quinnipiac 10-3, Manhattan 9-3. Away Record: Quinnipiac 8-7, Manhattan 12-4. Neutral Record: Quinnipiac 2-0, Manhattan 2-0. Conference Record: Quinnipiac 14-6, Manhattan 15-5. Series Record: Quinnipiac leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: One of the two newest members to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference finds themselves in the semifinals of the conference tournament, as the Quinnipiac Bobcats take on the Manhattan Jaspers at the MassMutual Center.
While this is the 33rd edition of this event, the Bobcats are taking part for the very first time after coming over from the Northeast Conference. Quinnipiac is the third seed in the tourney after finishing in a tie for fourth place in the standings with Canisius at 14-6. The team took care of business against Niagara in the quarterfinals last night, posting an 89-80 triumph.
As for the second-seeded Jaspers, winners of this tournament a total of three times previously and having lost in the title game last season to Iona (60-57), they too earned a bye through the first round of action because of their excellent play during the regular season. The team's first matchup took place on Saturday and it delivered with a 72-58 blowout of Saint Peter's to move to 21-29 in the event all-time.
In terms of an all-time series between the programs, the Bobcats won both regular-season meetings, including an overtime affair on Jan. 26 at Draddy Gym, which means Quinnipiac is ahead 2-0.
The winner of this meeting will move into the championship round on Monday night versus the survivor of the Canisius/Iona contest.
All five Quinnipiac starters scored in double figures on Saturday, led by Shaq Shannon with his 20 points as he knocked down 4-of-5 attempts from behind the 3-point line, while Ousmane Drame registered yet another double-double with 15 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Because of the effort by Drame in the paint, the Bobcats registered a 42-29 advantage on the glass. Ike Azotam pitched in with 18 points and six boards, Zaid Hearst 15 points and Evan Conti 12 to go along with six assists. As a group, the Bobcats shot not only 58.2 percent from the floor but also 8-of-13 behind the 3-point line.
Manhattan's meeting with the Peacocks was a back-and-forth battle from the very beginning, the contest experiencing six ties and as many lead changes in the first half alone. The Jaspers turned the ball over 15 times, leading to 18 points for Saint Peter's, but the favorites made up for those miscues by owning a 29-15 advantage at the free-throw line, which proved to be the difference in the final score. Rhamel Brown delivered a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Michael Alvarado tacked on 17 points as he converted 13-of-16 at the charity stripe.
George Beamon, one of the top performers in the MAAC this season, was barely a factor versus the Peacocks as he tallied just six points on 1-of-8 shooting from the floor. The effort by Beamon fell far short of his season average of 19.1 ppg.
If the Jaspers expect to keep up with Quinnipiac tonight, the team will need Beamon to erase last night's weak effort from his memory and get back on track because the Bobcats have more than enough strength in the paint to make it to the title game in their first-ever MAAC Tournament.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Quinnipiac 81, Manhattan 75
03/09 10:22:22 ET