Special guest post from Andrew Koob of City of Basketball Love
La Salle threw everything they could at the Manhattan Jaspers. Blowing an eight-point lead in the final two minutes, capped off by Explorer guard Tyrone Garland’s three-pointer to tie the game with eight seconds left, kept the La Salle crowd believing a win was inevitable.
But with the senior Manhattan class leading the way, the Jaspers held off an Explorers onslaught in a 99-90 double overtime win at Tom Gola Arena.
Along with forward Rhamel Brown, George Beamon and Mike Alvarado did all they could to secure a win at Tom Gola Arena. Beamon scored a team-high 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Alvarado scored 16 points shooting 5-8 (63%) from the field, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out a team-high six assists. Brown, the 6’7″, 230-pound forward, added 14 points on top of eight rebounds, five blocks and three assists.
The rebounding effort didn’t stop with the senior class, as the Jaspers out rebounded the Explorers 51-33 overall and 24-14 on the offensive end.
“You talk about George Beamon from the three spot getting eight rebounds, Mike Alvarado from the one spot getting eight rebounds, Emmy Andujar getting eleven on an A-10 team,” Manhattan coach Steve Masiello said. “It was a total team effort. Not only did we shoot a good percentage, but then we got 24 second chances and I thought we limited theirs and we held them to a decent shooting percentage.”
In a back-and-forth affair that saw the Jaspers’ eight point lead evaporate within the final two minutes of regulation, the senior class stepped up in the second extra period to clinch the victory.
Alvarado hit a three-pointer that gave the Jaspers the lead for good with under three minutes left in the second overtime. Beamon hit six free throws in the second overtime to secure the season-opening win for Manhattan. Brown swatted away a number of shots into the stands and held La Salle center Steve Zack in check down the stretch.
“I’m proud of them, very wonderful young men,” Masiello said. “There’s something special about them and all the credit goes to George, Mike and Rhamel. I told these guys that this is their team, they’re harder on the team than I am, believe it or not. They’re leadership is phenomenal and there’s no quit in these guys. They’ve showed that over the last two years on the court and off the court. It’s a joy to coach, it’s special team to coach and you just don’t get young men like this.”
Beamon, playing in his first regular season game since being shelved with an ankle injury following a 67-55 loss to George Washington early last year, was excited to once again play with his team after sitting on the sidelines for almost an entire year.
“It felt great, just being out there with these guys,” Beamon said. “This is my family, I look for them and they look for me. We’re a family unit and we needed a win, so just being out there with them is a plus. I love these guys, I’ve built this with these guys and it’s just great to be back out there with them.”