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Metro Atlantic Semifinals Recap

March 11, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

Metro Atlantic Semifinals Recap

Recap by Jesse Ullmann

Manhattan Jaspers 83, Saint Peters Peacocks 72
Senior guard Luis Flores scored a game-high 32 points leading Manhattan to an 83-72 semifinal victory over No. Four St. Peters last night. The two-time conference player of the year and his top seeded Jaspers will meet Niagara in tonight’s MAAC championship game, set to tip at nine o’clock.

Despite a mini St. Peters run towards the end of the first half Manhattan outplayed the Peacocks for virtually the entire game as a well-rested Jaspers team dominated the depleted Peacocks.

The battle between the two New York City-born point guards was special with Flores and the nation’s leading scorer sophomore guard Keydren Clark, who was unconscious dropping in five of 10 from downtown for a team-high 24 points.

The Peacocks hit four three-point baskets before halftime to cut the Manhattan lead to single digits at 41-30 heading into the locker room. Coming out of the break St. Peters starting forward Jamie Sowers immediately left the game with a finger injury and then two key components, juniors Terrance Watkins and Mark Curry, fouled out with a full seven minutes remaining.

Manhattan saw four starters score in double figures including 16 points from junior forward Peter Mulligan. Sophomore guard Jason Wingate scored 12 points while senior forward David Holmes added 11.

Despite Clark trying to catapult his teammates on the offensive end, senior forward Rafael Martinez was the only other Peacock scoring in double figures with 10 points off the bench. Junior forward Jamie Sowers and MAAC Rookie of the Year Shane Nichols each had nine.

St. Peters ends their 2004 campaign with an overall record of 17-12.

Niagara Purple Eagles 79, Siena Saints 74
Las Vegas native Tremmel Darden hit the jackpot with a royal two-handed flush securing a 79-74 victory over Siena and a berth in tonight’s MAAC championship. For the second straight night the senior guard scored 20-plus and diminished any chance of a possible upset.

An incident right before halftime may very well have cost the Saints a win.

After a pair of technical fouls were issued to each team Niagara found themselves down four with 26.2 left. Darden dashes through the lane, gets the shot to fall and draws the foul. Saints head coach Rob Lanier is screaming in utter disbelief regarding the previous play on the other end of the floor and is called for a technical. Darden makes four free throws, ultimately a six-point play, and Niagara carried some momentum into the locker room.

The Saints remained competitive while Niagara First Team All-MAAC selection, junior forward Juan Mendez sat with early foul trouble. Mendez did not get his first field goal until the 17-minute mark of the second half.

During this time however, the Purple Eagles were able to take an eight-point lead over Siena sparked by senior forward James Reeves who finished with 14 points and 10 boards. Darden was the catalyst scoring a game-high 23 points connecting on 12 of 14 from the charity stripe and grabbing nine rebounds.

A tough task, the Saints played three games in as many days and received 21 points last night from Second Team All-MAAC selection, sophomore guard Michael Haddix.

Senior forward Austin Andrews, who sacrificed a freshman red-shirt in 2001 when several big men went down with injuries, finished with 10 points in his final game at Siena.

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