Manhattan 83, St. Peter’s 72
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)—Luis Flores matched a season-high with 32 points, leading Manhattan to an 83-72 win over St. Peter’s on Sunday, and earning the Jaspers their second straight berth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament final.
Peter Mulligan added 16 points for the defending MAAC champion Jaspers (23-5), seeking their second straight automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. Manhattan will meet Niagara (21-8) in a meeting of the tournament’s top-two seeds in the championship game on Monday.
It’s Manhattan’s sixth MAAC championship game appearance, and the Jaspers are attempting to become the fifth school to win consecutive conference titles in the tournament’s 23-year history.
Flores, the two-time conference player of the year, now has 1,986 career points, seven short of breaking the Manhattan school record held by Keith Bullock.
Keydren Clark scored 24 points for St. Peter’s (17-12), making its first MAAC semifinal appearance since 1999. Clark finished 4-for-8 in 3-point attempts, giving him 111 3-pointers on the season to break the school record of 109 he set last year.
The Jaspers, who earned the bye into the semifinal as the tournament’s top seed, didn’t look rusty in playing their first game since a 92-67 win over Marist on Feb. 29.
Manhattan pulled away with an impressive 28-8 run to build a 32-16 lead when Flores hit two free throws with 3:10 left in the first half. The Peacocks struggled during that stretch, at one point going seven minutes without a field goal before Shane Nichols hit a 3-point basket with 2:58 remaining in the half.