Friday evening, longtime friends Ben Merriweather and Pete Landis, both 25, met at Draddy Fieldhouse in Riverdale, New York to watch their alma mater Manhattan Jaspers host the Iona Gaels. When they found their seats, Merriweather, a former college radio host whose cousin’s friend’s brother will be getting him an audition at ESPN, told Landis that Manhattan guard George Beamon would likely be named the State Farm Good Neighbor of the Game. Shortly after tipoff, Landis, who had not seen Merriweather since their college graduation nearly three years ago, asked him if his mother’s cancer was still in remission. Merriweather responded by saying that Manhattan’s junior sixth man Emmy Andujar could “really put the biscuit in the basket” and was primed to deliver a “Himself-Award-worthy” performance.
Landis, who is not really a basketball fan and just wanted to catch up with his friend, spent most of the game texting his girlfriend and trying to ignore Merriweather’s shouts of “three baaaalll!” and “let’s see a monster throwdown!” At one point, when Iona guard Sean Armand came to the line for free throws, Merriweather attempted to raise his voice above the crowd and shouted, “your mother doesn’t approve of your life choices,” a line he said always makes people laugh when they can hear him.
Merriweather, who lists Chris Berman and Neil Everett among his idols, was engrossed in the halftime festivities. Ten-year-old Connor Telford from Yonkers attempted a half-court shot that landed just short of the charge circle, an outcome that Merriweather deemed a “Not Top 10 nominee.” During the second half, Merriweather begrudgingly acknowledged the success of Iona’s Tre Bowman, the game’s leading scorer, by saying, “his mama must be a cumulonimbus cloud, because that kid’s makin’ it rain!” When the game went into overtime, Landis could be seen burying his head in his hands, while Merriweather took the opportunity to showcase his Dick Vitale impression for the fifth time that evening.
After Manhattan notched an 80-77 victory in overtime, the two friends exited the arena. Merriweather told Landis that they “should definitely hoop it up again soon,” to which Landis responded, “yeah man, we’ll see. I’m pretty busy with… work and stuff.”