The Manhattan Jaspers took down the Siena Saints in Draddy Gymnasium on Monday evening by a final score of 92-87. It took three overtime periods to settle this back and forth affair which resulted in both teams finding themselves at 2-2 in MAAC league play. Only a few short weeks ago the Saints took care of the Jaspers up in Albany, winning by 35 points at home but the Jaspers put up a much different fight this time around.
The Jaspers, who have dominated Siena in Riverdale (winning 18 of 26 and 5 in a row) were much healthier this time around - dressing eight scholarship players. The Saints on the other hand were without junior co-captain ball handler Marquise Wright. Without the sure handed Wright on the floor the Jaspers high pressure press defense was able to force the Saints into 23 turnovers on the evening.
The Jaspers trailed by one heading into halftime, 35-36 but were able to get it going in the second half thanks to a strong performance from senior forward Shane Richards who dropped a team high 21 points. Manhattan was able to stretch the lead to as many as eight points in the second half with just over six minutes remaining before going ice cold from the field.
A very strong effort from Siena's Javion Ogunyemi was able to pull the Saint's all the way back to tie the game nearing the end of regulation. Ogunyemi had a game high 26 points for the Saints in 53 minutes of action. The Jaspers did have a chance to win it in regulation when RaShawn Stores had a wide open look for three rim out as time expired. Bothe teams would enter overtime tied at 65 apiece.
The first two overtime periods were much of the same with both teams exchanging buckets with neither team amounting a lead of more than 4 points. The first overtime period ended with the Jaspers trailing by one and sophomore Calvin Crawford on the line. He made one of two giving the saints the ball with 10.9 seconds remaining tied at 74. Siena big-man Brett Bisping would have a decent look at the basket but his layup would not go down forcing double overtime. The second OT period again ended with Stores looking like he was going to be the hero as he released a running floater of the glass that just fell off of the rim as the horn sounded.
The third and final overtime opened with a Rich Williams layup and Richards three-ball to put the Jaspers up five points less than a minute into the period. Siena kept it close but another Williams jumper with 1:30 remaining stretched the lead back to five, 88-83. The following Siena possession ended with Bisping at the line shooting two free-throws. He made the first and bricked the second; however, freshman Nico Clareth was able to come away with the offensive board. Clareth was able to find Ryan Oliver in the corner for a clutch three-pointer that pulled the Saints to within one point with just under a minute remaining. Just when it looked like another overtime was inevitable Shane Richards was able to coral an offensive rebound to keep the Jaspers ensuing possession alive before laying it in for two to put the Jaspers up three. A Saints turnover and foul on the ensuing possession would put Richards on the line with less than a second to go where he knocked down both to ice it for Manhattan.
Rashawn Stores and Tyler Wilson were relentless on defense for the Jaspers forcing the Saints, who were short on ball handlers, into 23 turnovers on the evening. Stores also contributed 16 points on a night when five jaspers scored in double figures including, Richards with 21, Williams with 19, Crawford with a career high 15 and Zane Waterman who nabbed his first career double-double with 12 points and 13 boards. The shorthanded Saints were lead by an oustanding performance by Ogunyemi who went for 26 points, 11 board and 5 blocks while Siena's other big-man, Lavon Long fouled out in only 14 minutes of play.
Manhattan improves to 5-8 (2-2 MAAC) while Siena falls to 9-6 (2-2 MAAC). Both teams returns to action on Thursday when Manhattan travels to Buffalo to take on Canisius College at 7:00pm while Siena returns home to take on Fairfield University also at 7:00pm.