Home / Sports / March Madness begins as Hampton trumps Manhattan in play-in

March Madness begins as Hampton trumps Manhattan in play-in

Hampton’s Jervon Pressley throws down a dunk in a convincing 10-point win over Manhattan on Tuesday night.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Hampton’s Jervon Pressley throws down a dunk in a convincing 10-point win over Manhattan on Tuesday night.

DAYTON, Ohio — Steve Masiello had No. 16 Manhattan “obsessed” with Hampton, not wanting the Jaspers to look beyond Tuesday’s Midwest Region play-in game toward a potential Thursday date with undefeated, No. 1-overall Kentucky, the overwhelming favorite to win the NCAA Tournament.

That potential won’t be fulfilled.

The Jaspers top scorers were mitigated for most of the game by Hampton in a 74-64 loss Tuesday at UD Arena, which ended Manhattan’s season in the first game of the First Four. The Jaspers (19-14) fell to 3-9 in their NCAA Tournament history and are one-and-done in the Big Dance for the second consecutive season.

With Manhattan down by five, Emmy Andujar’s turnover led to an Emmanuel Okoroba layup for Hampton which put it up seven. Okoroba extended the lead to nine with 1:30 left effectively sealing the game.

Manhattan trailed the entire game, putting itself in a hole early with poor shooting. Hampton (17-17) raced out to a 7-0 lead, a margin which represented the halftime lead. Manhattan’s starters made just four of 19 shots in the first half, with Shane Richards missing five out of six 3-point attempts. Richards led Manhattan with 17 points.

Andujar and Ashton Pankey, the team’s two leading scorers and rebounders, were relegated to the bench about midway through the first half as each picked up two fouls. The Jaspers trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half as they had no answer for Hampton’s Quinton Chievous, who posted a first-half double-double in the first half and finished with xx points and xx rebounds. The Pirates hit 15 of 30 first-half shots and netted 22 points in the paint as Manhattan’s experienced forwards looked on helplessly.

Andujar had 11 points while Pankey had nine.

With the starters struggling, Masiello had to rely on his young bench for scoring in the first half. Freshmen forwards Calvin Crawford and Zane Waterman shot a combined for 12 first-half points and sophomore center Carlton Allen chipped in five.

Pankey got Manhattan going early in the second half and was unfazed by a hard fall on his back, but he was forced back to the bench for roughly six minutes after picking up his fourth foul with 12:26 remaining.

The Jaspers won’t get the matchup with Kentucky, Masiello’s alma mater, that outsiders had their eyes on when the tournament field was announced Sunday evening. Masiello expressed his displeasure Monday about the NCAA selection committee’s penchant for constructing early-round tournament games with story lines in mind.

He had to go through it last year when the Jaspers squared off against Louisville, where Masiello was an assistant for six years to Rick Pitino, for whom Masiello played as a freshman at Kentucky. He thought it wasn’t fair to his players for the focus to be on him and not them.

Masiello won’t have to face all those questions now about coaching against the team he played for, though he probably would gladly accept all the hoopla if it meant a different result than the early exit his Jaspers got Tuesday night.

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Daily News – Sports

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