The struggling Loyola Greyhounds made it interesting early and late last night at Reitz Arena, but class told at the finish.
After being within six points with 1:30 to go, the Greyhounds finally submitted to a foul-shooting spree by Manhattan and lost to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference leader, 77-62.
It was a gritty performance by Loyola (2-14, 1-6), which has lost 11 of its past 12 games and has not won a MAAC contest on its home court.
The Greyhounds managed to stay competitive despite shooting 35.2 percent from the field and losing the rebounding battle, 41-28.
Manhattan won the MAAC regular-season title last year and then advanced to the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals. Almost the entire team returned.
But the Jaspers didn't nail down this one until they hit 10 of 14 free throws after leading 65-59 with 1:44 to play as Loyola scrambled to play catch-up.
"We're getting a little better," said Greyhounds coach Joe Boylan. "I'm really happy with the effort. The guys believe they can win against a team of this caliber."
"I thought Loyola really played hard," said Jaspers first-year coach Fran Fraschilla. "Obviously, they have nothing to lose and they made it very difficult for us."
Forward Carey Edwards supplied the outburst that put the Jaspers in control, hitting 11 of his team's 13 points in one stretch, including an almost-impossible bank shot from the deep corner.
That took Manhattan (14-5, 6-1) into a 51-37 advantage and Loyola could never chip away enough to challenge for the lead.
"The sad part for them [the Greyhounds] is that it wasn't a 15-point game. It ended up that way, but people who saw it know it wasn't," said Fraschilla.
In his 100th collegiate start, All-American candidate Keith Bullock topped Manhattan with 22 points and 15 rebounds, the 13th time this season he has achieved a double double.
Edwards pitched in 18 points as the Jaspers won their sixth straight entering a weeklong layoff.
Loyola had rallied from a nine-point deficit to take a 24-23 lead on a three-pointer by Mike Malone, its only advantage of the game. A drive to a layup by Carey Wilson then gave the Jaspers a one-point halftime edge.
It was an "ugly half and we certainly contributed," said Fraschilla. Manhattan shot 34.5 percent, Loyola 28. The teams combined for 20 turnovers.
With the Greyhounds' most consistent player, B. J. Pendleton, thwarted by personal fouls and offensive frustrations, David Credle came off the bench to lead the team with 18 points.
But Boylan said he is not contemplating an insertion of Credle into the starting lineup.
"Our starting lineup plays together pretty well," said Boylan. "It's hard for us to come back if we're down and they do a good job of keeping us in the game.
"We're better with certain guys coming off the bench who might be starting otherwise. Credle did give us a good lift."