RIVERDALE, N.Y. – Manhattan ran off with its eighth straight victory in wire-to-wire fashion as the Jaspers defeated Marist (7-15, 2-9) 73-51 on Thursday at Draddy Gymnasium. Kidani Brutus (Bronx, N.Y./Wings Academy/Carl Albert State) led all players with a game-high 16 points in 31 minutes off the bench to help lift the Jaspers to a 7-2 mark at home this season. Jaspers’ point guard Michael Alvarado (Bronx, N.Y./All Hallows) tied a program record with eight steals, going along with eight points and three assists.
Brutus got Manhattan (17-7, 10-2 MAAC) rolling in the early minutes bringing instant energy off the bench. He scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half, including eight over a 15-5 run to put Manhattan ahead by double-figures with 3:42 left in the stanza.
Freshman forward Donovan Kates (Hopkinsville, Ky./Christian County) got the home crowd jumping with a one-handed throw down, which was followed by Alvarado’s steal and layup to give Manhattan its largest lead of the half (12). Manhattan carried a 32-22 advantage into the break.
Manhattan picked up the pace in the second half shooting 53.1% (17-32) to lead by as many as 24-points. George Beamon (Roslyn, N.Y./Roslyn) sparked a 7-0 run to open the half with a layup and then freshman forward Ryan McCoy (Skillman, N.J./Hopkinsville) capped the surge with a three-pointer from the corner at 17:51 to send the Jaspers on top 39-22.
Then after the Red Foxes knocked Manhattan’s lead back to 12, Beamon started another surge with a jumper as the Jaspers scored nine unanswered points to build their lead up to 21 points. Jaspers’ freshman forward Emmy Andujar (Bronx, N.Y./Rice) scored five points during the run and capped the two minute spurt with a three-pointer at 13:44 that gave Manhattan a 48-27 advantage.
After a sluggish start shooting 0-for-6 in the first half, Beamon finished strong by going 4-for-5 from the field in the second half to keep his 38-game double-figure scoring streak alive. He finished with 10 points and a game-high five assists.
Jaspers’ big men Roberto Colonette (Queens, N.Y./ASA Institute) and Rhamel Brown (Brooklyn, N.Y./Transit Tech) were forces in the post. Colonette grabbed five of his team-high seven rebounds on the offensive glass and he added six points and two blocks. Brown scored seven points, grabbed five rebounds and swatted three shots.
Kates contributed eight points and Andujar added seven to the Jaspers 43-point bench effort. Manhattan got 42 points in the paint and capitalized with 27 points off turnovers.
The Jaspers defense was clicking on all cylinders as they forced 21 turnovers and held Marist (7-15, 2-9 MAAC) to 37.7% (20-53) shooting from the field. It was the fifth time in the last six games that Manhattan held an opponent under 40% shooting in a contest. The Jaspers entered the contest ranked 22nd nationally with a 39.1% field goal defense.
Isaiah Morton and Chavaughn Lewis paced Marist with 11 points apiece. Sophomore forward Adam Kemp grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and posted eight points.
Manhattan returns to action on Saturday for its highly anticipated first place showdown with Iona. The Jaspers and Gaels will square off at 7 p.m. at Draddy Gymnasium following the Manhattan women’s game with Marist. Both contests will air nationally on ESPN3.