Game 2 of the Season
November 12 – Manhattan @ UMBC
Once again it was raining on my trip to a game. Annapolis and now in Catonsville or Baltimore County. UMBC is only 20 minutes from my house so it’s not bad, even while driving an old ’94 Ford F-150.
UMBC has really stepped its game up this past year and no I’m not talking about being the only #16 seed to ever defeat a #1 in NCAA tournament history. I am talking about their facility, the UMBC Event Center. It opened last year when they were crushed by Vermont late in the season. They of course got their revenge with a Jairus Lyles buzzer beater in Vermont to send the Retrievers to the NCAA tourney. More specifically though I am referring to the pregame spread. It was a taco/fajita/salad bar. It was solid, catered food. Now this doesn’t seem like much to some people in the media, but as far as I know there other gym did not have a spread….. Now I could be wrong, but my only experience out of the three years I have attended games there was meandering my way to a small crowded media room the size of the break room at a small paper company (yes, picture the break room from Scranton’s finest Dunder Mifflin). When I arrived there was an empty container of cookies. All of UMBC’s media staff had already consumed them, and yes famous UMBC Twitter guy was one of them…….
So needless to say they have come a long way! The media staff does a great job there for sure. In the old gym as well as the new. Shoutout to Mr. Steve Levy.
As for the game it was a one sided affair. UMBC handled Manhattan for majority of the game, with a final of 75-52. UMBC was shooting lights out from three. They were 13-29. Its very difficult to beat any team that makes 13 three’s. Coach Steve Masiello and the Jaspers didn’t have a chance to match the firepower of Coach Ryan Odom and the Retrievers. These are two really solid head coaches too. I wonder how long Odom will stick around. His coaching style and teams style of play will be very intriguing for many high major universities.
For UMBC the star player of the game was, K.J. Jackson. Jackson, a JUCO transfer from Texas, struggled to run the offense early and played tentative. The 6’2 180 lb. point guard started playing with more decisiveness and conviction and quickly turned the game around. He finished with 20 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds. Jackson is a tough player to stop when driving from the perimeter and he see’s the floor pretty well. He made 4-7 from three and was not taking shots out of the offense. Jackson is going to be one of the guards to watch in the America East Conference.
The other two veterans for UMBC that played well as expected were Arkel Lamar and Joe Sherburne. Lamar, a 6’5 235lb. junior guard/forward, may be the most important player on the squad. Lamar is a knockdown three-point shooter and has the ability to pull up or drive to the rack. Lamar has expanded his overall game. He see’s the floor better than years past and he also seems to be taking more of a leadership role on the floor. Lamar finished with 15 points. Joe Sherburne, a 6’6 220lb. senior shooting guard, provided his steady play. He played well in the high post and at the foul line. Sherburne’s calming presence is what holds this team together. The sharpshooter finished with 13 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds.
For Manhattan it was not pretty on offense. They lacked continuity and a purpose most of the time. Freshman Elijah Buchanan lead the way with 10 points. Senior guard Thomas Capuano chipped in 9 points and senior guard/forward Samson Usilo had 7 points and 7 rebounds. This team is going to struggle to score. They seemed to be lacking a playmaking point guard and they are a very young team. Masiello will have some work to do.
Fan of the game goes to the random UMBC fan that was yelling at all of Manhattan’s players by name and telling them they suck and they all need shape-ups. Very entertaining sir.
UMBC had a decent crowd there. I guess the interest garnered from the NCAA tourney upset over #1 seeded Virginia is starting to generate some more profit.