With the loss, NJCU cannot finish .500 this year and will suffer its first losing season since going 11-14 in 1969-70, a string of 38 consecutive years. Its streak of consecutive winning seasons is also snapped since last finishing 13-13 in 1974-75, a span of 33 straight seasons. Both were the second longest active streaks in Division III; the 33 straight winning seasons were the second longest in Division III history. NJCU also will have its streak of 26 straight years in a post-season tournament end.
NJCU lost despite having two players reach 20 points. Freshman small forward Rashawn Smalls (
While MSU didn’t have a player score more than 16, the Red Hawks did see two register double-doubles. Sophomore guard James Williams (Englewood, NJ/Dwight Morrow), last year’s NJAC Rookie of the Year, scored a team-high 16 points (5-12 FG) with four assists in a full 40 minutes.Senior forward Richard Brown (
The Knights never trailed in the first half, hitting seven of their 11 threes in the period. A Wells three with 9:53 left in the first half gave NJCU a 20-12 lead, its largest margin of the game, as MSU was held scoreless for a span of 3:05. MSU drew within three twice, before five Lopez points, including a triple with 6:12 left, again made it an eight-point lead, 27-19.
But MSU outscored NJCU 9-2 to finish the period and a Williams jumper with 1:35 left made it a one-point game at the break, 29-28.
Sophomore guard Tom Bonard (
NJCU cut it to three after Smalls scored five straight points, including a three-pointer with 10:48 left, 45-42.
But again, the Red Hawks responded, scoring eight straight. Williams made a three with 9:42 left for a 50-42 edge and with 7:47 on the clock, freshman swingman Paul Siljee (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley) extended it to an 11-point advantage (53-42) with a three-pointer, which matched MSU’s largest margin of the night. NJCU was able to cut the deficit to six, 63-56, on a Smalls basket with 2:33 remaining, but couldn’t shave any more off of the MSU advantage.
In a game with seven lead chances and four ties, MSU, which shot .377 overall (23-61) made 48.1 percent of its shots in the final 20 minutes (13-27) and only committed 12 turnovers.