2006_03_sjaspersterps.jpgOK, so Gothamist was talking about the NIT, but a #1 is still a #1, no? Yesterday the Manhattan Jaspers won their first round NIT game against the Maryland Terrapins. Sure, Maryland players and fans have no interest in the tournament (only 4,761 were at the game), but that's no really not much of an excuse. Win the win, Manhattan and Hofstra are now the only local men's basketball teams that are still playing in the post-season. Iona, Albany, Syracuse (which actually bills itself as "New York's College Team), Monmouth, and Seton Hall were all bounced from the NCAA Tournament already. For what it's worth, that tornament still has all its top seeds...so far.

Manhattan's victory came on Coach Bobby Gonzalez's birthday and is the 2nd year in a row the team has given the gift of victory to the coach. What makes the victory by the Jaspers even more impressive is that they were playing without their leading scorer who has been suspended since the middle of the season. No matter as they defeated 87-84 in impressive fashion. Jeff Xavier had 31 points, 8 rebounds and 6 steals to lead the Jaspers in the win.

Next up for Manhattan is a trip to Norfolk to play Old Dominion University tomorrow night. Hofstra, who also plays tomorrow night, faces St. Joe's.

Photo by AP via The Baltimore Sun