Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi knew a little bit about getting back up. After his Packers were knocked down by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1960 NFL championship, his teams would go on to win it all in five of the next seven seasons.
Similarly, Rowan men’s basketball endured a knock down of their own when they lost three straight New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) contests. The Profs bounced back this past Saturday though, defeating Ramapo College 89-86 to improve to a 2-3 conference record and 5-3 record overall. The Roadrunners came into the contest as the favorite to win, entering with a 7-1 record. They also had swept Rowan in two contests last year, adding fuel to the conference matchup.
Ramapo guard Rob Lewis and forward Kashaun Barnes did everything in their power to give their team the win, putting up 28 and 25 points, respectively.
“We had a couple breakdowns,” said head coach Joe Crispin. “It takes a lot of effort to stick with the game plan. A couple times we went over screens when we wanted to go under screens. For us, the most important thing is getting [the right pace] and being on the attack.”
The Brown and Gold ran a more balanced attack led by senior guard Nick DePersia’s steady stat line of 22 points, three assists and five rebounds. Senior guard DaRon Curry added 19 points, three assists and three rebounds for good measure.
For DePersia, the history between the two schools was all he needed to fuel his performance. It also didn’t hurt that the team was completely healthy going into it.
“Coming off of last season when they went to the final four, winning the NJAC two years in a row and sweeping us last year, we came out with a [chip] on our shoulder,” DePersia said. “We were at home, wanted to make a statement. We were at full-strength for the first time in a couple games.”
Versatile senior guard/forward Ramon Wright was a pivotal contributor on the defensive end of the floor, as last year’s conference leader in blocks tallied five while adding 10 rebounds and 16 points in his own right.
“Previously, I wasn’t really around the rim,” Wright said. “I was guarding the perimeter a lot more. Last game, I was able to play the interior a little bit, so that’s kind of what happens when I’m down there.”
The team heads to Wayne, New Jersey for their last NJAC game of the calendar year against William Paterson University. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.
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