The most exciting and thrilling college sports game of the day did not take place on the gridiron in Columbus, Ohio. It actually took place on the hardwood at Calihan Hall in Detroit. Although the attendance was only 1,012, due in large part to the aforementioned football game, the atmosphere was still electric as the Manhattan Jaspers endured past the Detroit Mercy Titans 84-81 in double-overtime. Junior guard Zavier Turner led his team to the win and was the best player on the floor, with a season-high 32 points and 6 assists. He also shot 10-15 from the field and 9-11 from the free throw line. Turner was very impressive because the Titans continually put their best on-the-ball defenders on him, but they could not contain his quickness. Turner also has a tremendous ability to finish strong at the basket, despite being only 5’9”. Junior forward Zane Waterman added 15 points and 8 rebounds. He was particularly lethal from behind the arc, making 4 of 5 attempts.
The game was very close throughout the first half, and was tied at 33 at halftime. Manhattan built the game’s largest lead, 56-46, with just 8:33 left in the game. The Titans then finished the second half on a 19-9 run to force overtime. With the Titans leading 69-68 with just under one minute left in OT, junior power forward Jaleel Hogan impressively converted a two-point shot and was fouled. This showed Hogan’s great physical strength because a defender first grabbed his shoulder from behind to try to prevent him from releasing the shot. Then, Hogan was bumped by a defender in front of him while releasing it. Despite all this contact, Hogan still made the basket and then the free throw to give his team a 72-68 lead. However, with just 12 seconds left and the Titans now up two, Hogan had an opportunity to essentially put the game away with two free throws. He missed them both. After Waterman missed an open three to win the game, Detroit Mercy senior forward Chris Jenkins fouled Aaron Walker Jr. on the rebound with just 0.7 seconds left. The true freshman from Brooklyn, NY had not scored a single point in the game up to that point. But he made both free throws to tie the game at 72 and force a second overtime.
With the Jaspers up 83-81 with just under 90 seconds left in double-OT, sophomore Titan guard Josh McFolley missed two free throws. But the Titans still had their chances two win. Jenkins missed an open three on the next possession. With Manhattan failing to score again, McFolley stole the ball and drove hard to the basket to try to tie the game. But a Manhattan defender clearly beat him to the spot, and McFolley plowed him over. The crowd hoped to be bailed out by a defensive blocking foul. But the correct call of a player-control foul was made and the Jaspers got the ball and the win. Many of the home fans were livid at the official who made the call. But they were really just upset because that foul happened at the very end of a hard-fought game. If the exact same foul had happened in the first half, it is likely that no one in the crowd would have thought twice about it. But the bottom line is that it was the correct call.
McFolley had 18 points and 2 steals off the bench for the Titans, who fall to 1-5 overall. They have yet to beat a Division 1 opponent. Hogan was the Player of the Game for Detroit Mercy with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. His performance was even more noteworthy because he was guarded most of the game by Ahmed Ismail and Ak Ojo, who are 7’2” and 6’10”, respectively. Hogan is an undersized power forward, who is listed at 6’7”. JUCO transfer Dre Black continues to play well and be an efficient ball handler, as he added 9 points and a game-high 7 assists. Guard Corey Allen looks very comfortable on the court for a true freshman, as he played over 40 minutes and had 10 points. Prior to going on a three-game road trip, the Titans will host Eastern Michigan (4-3) on Wednesday night.
The Jaspers had five more turnovers than the Titans. But they won the game because they controlled the glass in rebounding (42-33) and shot considerably better from the free throw line (66.7% to 51.6%). Manhattan (2-3) has a quick turnaround, as they play at #19 West Virginia on Monday.
Thanks to Manhattan, a school with a “Big Block M” as its logo ended up being victorious today after all.