Game #9-169: Manhattan at Long Island BlackbirdsDecember 16, 2012 4:00 pm
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - What are theories if we don't attempt to put them into practice? I somewhat haphazardly wrote about a hypothetical Green Apple conference
that would include all the New York City teams. However, even in the three weeks since I wrote it, it seems less far-fetched. Who knows where the conference realignment wheel will stop spinning?
I had been to all the Mid-majority venues in the New York City area except for two in the last year: Wagner and Long Island. Wagner is on Staten Island, which is difficult to get to from Connecticut, although I hope to make it there before the season is out. LIU, on the other hand, is right in the heart of Brooklyn, and I've planned to go there a few times, only to have circumstances get in the way.
Sunday, I was basically passing through the Big Apple on the way home and LIU was home against Manhattan, an intriguing game between two NYC teams in different conferences. Problem is, I didn't want to drive into Brooklyn, with bridges (see: tolls) and traffic and parking (see: lack thereof). So, true to personal form, I hatched a brilliant or head-shakingly convoluted scheme, depending on your
I've never had much trouble parking at Manhattan College, and it wasn't too much trouble to get to Riverdale in the Bronx. It also marks the final stop on the No. 1 subway coming out of Manhattan. How long would it take to get to LIU?
It took about an hour, the No. 1 train connecting to the No. 2 train near Times Square and spitting you out on Nevins St., just a block from LIU.
LIU's campus is tiny by most standards, but massive in comparison to the other Division I school in Brooklyn, St. Francis, which is about a mile down the street.
Somehow, LIU was one of only two NEC teams (Monmouth the other), that I missed entirely last season, so I was glad to rectify that as well, especially with their success.The WRAC (Wellness, Recreation, and Athletic Center)
cost $45 million to build and opened in 2006, a beautiful mid-major facility in just about every sense of the word. For me, this was a day about some of the little things. People often ask, "Why don't you just watch on TV? Wouldn't that be just as easy."
Easier, yes. But here is a sampling of things that would have been missed:
· The security guard
at the door asking what team I was rooting for, so she could tell me what side to sit on. "You don't care who wins? I don't believe it."
I sat behind the LIU bench.· As I walked behind the Manhattan bench, one student manager was trying to explain to the new guy how to arrange the chairs in the middle of the court during time outs, not a time you want to draw the ire of Steve Masiello (if there is such a time). He did it complete with diagrams and a couple of practice runs to make sure he got it right. I guess such training is necessary, but I found it funny.
· Sitting behind the Blackbirds bench (I'm a big fan of that nickname, simple yet formidable), I saw a familiar face I didn't expect to see in the middle of Brooklyn, although it made perfect sense. Junior soccer player Jen Spicer
grew up in the club where I coach, then went on to torture our high school team a couple of times for neighboring Shelton, just a few miles from Newtown, which sadly is how all Connecticut towns will be judged for the near future. She helped lead LIU to an NEC title last season, but missed most of this season with a hip injury. Spicer is majoring in athletic training, so is helping in that field, and doubling as a manager for the men's hoops team, at least for the home games.
· I'm a bit slow, so I didn't notice, but reigning NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd was hobbling around in street clothes, and Twitter told me that he was done for the year with a torn ACL. I immediately went down to ask Jen, who could not only sympathize, but also know the story. In a 27-point Red Line road upset over Rice, Boyd "was trying to post up and then just got hit from the other side as his knee was planted, I guess. Tough break." A really tough break for Boyd, who missed a whole season after he was diagnosed with a heart condition
, and began this campaign under suspension. But it looked like Boyd had everything together for an historic senior year, and the Blackbirds were starting to roll with conference play beginning in a couple of weeks. I might call such a thing tragic, but that's not a word I'll be using for a while in the context of sports.
· The first half was a hideous offensive display that left me wondering if the hoops at the WRAC weren't a little smaller than they should be. The Jaspers, playing without their leading scorer George Beamon as well (foot), turned the ball over on their first two possessions and then missed their first 10 shots, finally getting a Rhamel Brown putback 5:43 into the game for their first points. Luckily, LIU was only up 6-0 by then, and Manhattan came back to lead for a while before Brandon Thompson got hot and hit a couple of #superhoops
and Booker Hucks added one of his own to give LIU a 31-26 halftime lead.
· Sitting close to the LIU bench, I was struck by some of the conversation between first-year coach Jack Perri (Jim Ferry moved on to Duquesne after back-to-back NEC titles) and the officials. After Jamal Olasewere picked up his second foul, he turned to the official and said, "Yup, you're right. That was a dumb foul," with a smile on his face. But as the fouls, most of them to his post players, mounted, he became more and more agitated, even though he's obviously not a big screamer. You could tell he was trying to make his point without going over the top, and the officials generally tried to plead their case, with the two having to agree to disagree at the end.
· The Blackbird mascot trying different schemes to throw off free throw shooters behind the basket: beginning by just waving his arms, advancing to pretending to fall as the shot goes up, sticking his rear end out, getting the cheerleaders involved. Every time Manhattan missed (and they missed 10), he gave high-fives all around.
· The kids in the halftime game were probably 11, but it was some high quality stuff: no-look passes, good form in shots, finishing under the basket. I guess you have to be a decent player to make it in Brooklyn, no matter who you are.· Even with all the foul trouble and Olasewere only playing 20 minutes (and Boyd obviously out), LIU turned this into a laugher and outrebounded Manhattan a ridiculous 50-25. 50 ?!?, without two of their best rebounders playing for most of it. Bizarre.
· John Templon of Big Apple Buckets was there, and he and I have had a friendly argument about three-point shooting defense. I maintain that there's some skill to do it (as it was a focal point in my coaching, and I thought it helped us), as Syracuse proves with their zone. I often compare Manhattan's zone to Syracuse with its aggressiveness. He (along with Ken Pomeroy) counters that it's all primarily luck and the data backs that up. But on this afternoon, Thompson was singlehandedly killing my argument, as he opened the second half with two more #superhoops, and by the time he hit his seventh #superhoop
with 7:29 remaining, the Blackbirds were up 66-34 and it was officially garbage time. In all, LIU went 12-of-22 from behind the arc, forcing Manhattan to try different defenses, without much success. Meanwhile, the Jaspers were 4-of-21 on #superhoops
at the other end.
· In the end, it was a little ironic that two days after two NEC teams (Monmouth and Quinnipiac) defected to the MAAC, an NEC team (two-time defending champs, no less) that was never in the discussion beat a MAAC squad expected to compete for a league crown by 27 points.· Masiello temporarily got upset at Perri toward the end, but it was hard to see why, perhaps putting Olasewere back in up 30, although he fouled out within seconds of coming back in, so the point was moot. And that was that.
at LONG ISLAND 75, MANHATTAN 48
I stopped for some dinner across the street, and got back on the No. 2 train, which connected to the much more crowded No. 1 train back to the Bronx. Perhaps because of the weekend, I was more keen to it, but there were lots of young kids on the train Sunday then I remembered on other days. As a young girl came on the train, she saw an open seat and jumped at the opportunity, which didn't please her mom a few feet away."It's OK," I tried to say. But that's hard to believe these days, I guess.It took about the same amount of time to get back to Manhattan College and my car. A couple of women's basketball players from Manhattan apparently had the same idea as me because we were the last ones on the train as it reached the end of the line.What was an adventure for me was likely just another monotonous, agonizing train ride for them trying to get home.
MANHATTAN 3-6 (1-1) -- D. Kates 3-8 4-5 10; E. Andujar 4-10 3-6 12; S. Richards 1-7 0-0 2; M. Alvarado 4-9 1-2 10; R. Colonette 0-1 3-4 3; C. Jones 1-7 0-0 3; R. Brown 2-4 1-5 5; R. McCoy 0-1 0-0 0; M. Koita 1-2 0-0 3; R. Stores 0-3 0-0 0; M. Jackson Jr. 0-1 0-0 0; A. Lacey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-53 12-22 48.
LONG ISLAND 5-4 (0-0) -- J. Brickman 0-3 0-0 0; C. Garner 4-10 0-3 8; B. Thompson 8-12 0-0 23; K. Murphy 1-4 0-0 2; B. Hucks 4-6 2-2 12; J. Olasewere 3-7 5-6 11; G. Martin 2-3 0-0 6; T. Joseph 2-3 2-2 7; E. Reed 1-2 0-0 2; D. Griggs 0-3 2-2 2; K. Onyechi 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 26-54 11-15 75.
Three-point goals: MAN 4-21 (M. Koita 1-1; M. Jackson 0-1; M. Alvarado 1-3; E. Andujar 1-5; D. Kates 0-3; R. McCoy 0-1; R. Stores 0-1; C. Jones 1-1; S. Richards 0-5), LIU 12-22 (B. Hucks 2-4; B. Thompson 7-10; K. Murphy 0-3; J. Brickman 0-1; T. Joseph 1-1; G. Martin 2-2; D. Griggs 0-1); Rebounds: MAN 21 (R. Brown 5), LIU 46 (J. Olasewere 9); Assists: MAN 6 (D. Kates 2), LIU 18 (J. Brickman 8); Total Fouls -- MAN 20, LIU 24; Fouled Out: MAN-R. Brown; LIU-J. Olasewere.