Recap: Men’s basketball comes up short against TCNJ in crucial conference battle

Rowan wins turnover battle but unable to quiet outside shooting of TCNJ.

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How does a team overcome an onslaught of turnovers? They make 16-of-34 three-pointers for the game.

This was the case in a game that pitted the Rowan men’s basketball team against New Jersey Athletic Conference rival The College of New Jersey, which committed 21 miscues.

Behind Eric Murdock Jr.’s 17 points (5-of-8 from 3PT) and 21 from Eric Klacik, TCNJ squeaked out a 90-82 win over Rowan, 5-9 (8-13 overall), on Wednesday night.

Despite leading the game 35-32 at halftime, the Profs dropped off in what was a game of two halves; the Lions came out in the second frame and scored 58 points. TCNJ (8-6, 13-8 overall) went on a 7-0 run for a 44-42 lead with 15 minutes left and never looked back.

“The first half they score 32 points. That’s great D. But they ended up with 90 points,” senior guard Kris O’Connor said. “If we play D we can beat anybody in this league. All of our games are close. We’ve just got to get a couple more stops.”

The Lions’ accuracy from three was what did Rowan in. After shooting 32% (6-of-19) from beyond the arc in the first half, TCNJ really turned it on the second, putting up a 67% (10-of-15) three-point percentage.

“16-of-34 on threes. They’re going to win if they shoot 16-of-34 on threes,” head coach Joe Cassidy said. “Murdock is such a good player; we tried to throw a number of different defenses at him to try and get the ball out of his hands with things like the trap, but 16-34, there’s nothing you can do about that.”

Murdock was a big player down the stretch; every time Rowan would get close, he hit dagger after dagger to silence the home team and its fans.

Freshman guard Rob DePersia went to the hole for two of his 17 points and converted a free throw to cut the lead to eight with 4:37 to go. O’Connor then got a steal and a layup for a six-point game but on the next possession, Murdock hit a three to keep Rowan at bay and seal the deal as the closest the Profs would get was within five.

“This loss is definitely going to hurt because it’s another loss in the conference and it’s pushing us from our goal,” said junior forward Shawn Wilson, who scored a team-high 23 points off the bench.

 

PLAYER OF THE GAME

TCNJ sophomore guard Eric Murdock, Jr.- 17 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists

 

UP NEXT

@ Kean University, Saturday 1 pm

 

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