Huge upsets against conference rivals The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and New Jersey City University (NJCU) have given the Rowan men’s basketball a boost late in the season.
The brown and gold put a four-game home winning streak on the line when they hosted the Lions on Feb. 1. TCNJ had won their last seven in a row, and are currently placed second in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. The brown and gold came out of the gate firing, and held the lead for the entire contest. Five players scored in double-figures, including Nick DePersia. The sophomore guard scored 21 points, 15 of which came from beyond the arc. His streak of 20-point outings was extended to three as Rowan beat the Lions 88-74.
“I think he forgot that he’s the best player on the court. If he’s not the best, he’s pretty darn close,” said head coach Joe Crispin. “His aggressive mentality and ability to get to the rim and get some easy buckets all makes a big difference for him. But the biggest thing is him realizing he is that good. I expect him to play pretty close to this all the time.”
The brown and gold followed that contest up by hosting NJCU on Feb. 4. The scoring frenzy didn’t stop for DePersia, as he poured in 24, and brought his streak of 20-point games to four. He was joined by freshman guard, Jeff Haddock, as both contributed five points each in Rowan’s 14-0 late-game heroic run to help them come from behind and defeat the Gothic Knights, 91-88.
Haddock tallied 24 points, giving him a new season-high, and went 8-12 from the charity stripe.
“We’ve played well the last week. When it comes to winning, we have to have that extra edge, that extra energy,” Crispin said. “Sometimes on the road it’s harder to get. You don’t have the fans and the energy, so you have to create your own. Thankfully, we recovered at home and were welcomed by a great environment, and had some great energy. Now, we go on the road to try to learn from our lessons before.”
On Feb. 8, Rowan took to the road to face struggling Kean University, who clings to a 1-21 overall record, their only win being in-conference against Rutgers-Newark.
Prior to the game, Crispin said that in a game like this, it is important not to get too high or too low.
“We talk about that a lot. We are the kind of team that can beat anybody, but we are also the kind that can lose to anybody,” Crispin said. “If we don’t come with intensity, focus and just the desire, we can face trouble. We’re playing to get in the conversation, and be one of the top teams. I’m confident we will come out and play with good energy.”
The brown and gold did just that, winning the game against Kean 96-85. The win moved the team to 15-8 and 10-6 in the conference. Rob DePersia led the Profs with 16 points while four other players scored in double figures.
The Profs will next face Rutgers-Newark on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.
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