ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Shane Richards had 14 points and No. 3 seed Manhattan pulled away from seventh-seeded St. Peter’s 65-48 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament semifinals on Sunday.

Zane Waterman and Ashton Pankey added 10 points each for Manhattan (18-13), which led the entire way after the early minutes.

An automatic bid to this month’s NCAA Tournament will be at stake when the Jaspers square off with No. 1 seed Iona for the third straight year in the championship on Monday.

“There’s magic in the air when these two teams take the floor, there’s a little different vibe, there’s a little different energy, there’s a little different look in everyone’s eyes,” said Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, according to the New York Post.

Iona won in 2013 and Manhattan last year. The Gaels took both meetings during the 2014-15 regular season.

“It’s gonna be a fun game, it’s gonna be a battle,” the Jaspers’ RaShawn Stores said, according to the Post. “They’re our biggest rivals and we know what’s on the line — the NCAA Tournament.”

St. Peter’s (16-18) closed to within seven points with 5:26 left, but Manhattan outscored the Peacocks 19-9 from there with a 7-0 run to close the game.

Richards scored back-to-back with a three-point play and 3-pointer to cap a 10-2 run that put the Jaspers up 33-23 at halftime.

Marvin Dominique had 13 points and Tyler Gaskins scored 12 to lead St. Peter’s.

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