One simple word that, in the least, can describe what the Rowan men’s basketball team has been doing the second half of this season.
The Profs began the new year in a slump, losing five straight contests and seven of their first nine games. But, last week, the tempo all came together as the brown and gold began their push to the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Playoffs.
It began with a huge 93-84 road victory over The College of New Jersey, a top-three team in the conference. Rowan led for the entire game. On paper, this shouldn’t come as a shock, as prior to this game they were better on the road (5-4) than at home (3-5). Five players scored more than 10 points including junior guard Ramon Wright who went 3-4 from deep.
Next up was New Jersey City University, the second-best team in the NJAC. Both teams would go back and forth, but Rowan would retain the lead; for the most part.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Profs held a 65-60 lead with just over four minutes remaining. Then, NJCU started hitting from downtown. The Gothic Knights buried a three with 2:57 left pulling themselves within two. Both teams would trade unsuccessful possessions until TCNJ’s Sam Toney knocked down a three and put the Gothic Knights up 66-65 with 23 seconds left.
Would the “23” represent Michael Jordan? Probably not, but Rowan guard Nick DePersia definitely had a “jumpman moment.”
The junior crept into the lane from the left baseline and laid the ball in for a 67-66 Rowan advantage with just seven seconds left. The team would hold on and stay alive in the hunt for the sixth and final seed of the ensuing NJAC tournament.
Then, on Wednesday night, DePersia was brought to the line with 16 seconds left against Kean University, as Rowan was up 70-69. He would miss the first of two attempts but knocked down the second to make it a 71-69 advantage.
Rowan would stop Kean defensively and moved on to 8-8 in the NJAC and 12-11 overall. They are currently in the final seed for the NJAC tournament.
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