A pivotal road matchup late in the season against a conference rival with the hopes of the season hang in the balance in a tight conference race.
In the final seconds, with the Brown and Gold trailing 90-89, senior guard Nick DePersia knew his team’s chances all came down to this moment.
With 9.4 seconds remaining, DePersia pulled up for a contested three-pointer. The ball sailed through the air, time seemingly standing still as the Rowan bench looked on.
It could have clanked off the rim, sending the squad home disappointed and having Montclair State tie up the second seed.
But that’s not what happened. Not this time.
DePersia’s shot didn’t just go in, it hardly touched rim.
“Honestly, I didn’t see that much,” DePersia said, describing the play. “The step back going to my left, coming back off my right foot is one of my go-to moves. I’ve been practicing it my whole life and I’m really comfortable with that shot.”
For a supremely talented and versatile squad, the Profs enjoy keeping their fans on the edge of their seats.
Entering last Wednesday’s contest against the Stockton Ospreys, however, the Brown and Gold were beaming with confidence despite coming off a difficult loss to Ramapo College prior. The game was a tough setback as Rowan fell into a two-way tie with the Roadrunners for second place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).
Only a week later, the Profs solidified their hold on the second seed in the NJAC with a thrilling comeback win against Stockton University prior to the aforementioned victory against Montclair State University.
That makes two big time comebacks in under a week.
Rowan started slowly against the Ospreys, at one point trailing by 20 points before scoring 60 in the second half to secure the victory. DePersia set a season-high 16 three-point attempts en route to the victory but received critical contributions from senior guard/forward Ramon Wright’s 15 second half points. The team also received strong play on the glass by senior forward Teirique Robinson and senior guard Rob DePersia, as they pulled down nine rebounds each. Both features were especially impressive given Robinson’s limited playing time, only 13 minutes, and DePersia’s diminutive stature, standing at just over 5’9.”
“We all have our own roles, and that’s what makes the team go,” DePersia said. “Some games, I might have four points. Maybe six assists. Some games I might have 18. It’s always different. The reason we are good is because we have so many weapons. On any given night, one through nine can score 15 to 20 points, and everyone’s okay with that.”
During Saturday’s comeback win at Montclair State University, Rowan trailed by nine at halftime before going on a 56-point tear to secure the victory on the last second shot. In both contests, the opposition shot well from the three-point line, presenting unique challenges for a Profs team who is used to dictating the game with their own three-point shooting.
“It’s also partly, you know the chicken-or-the-egg,” head coach Joe Crispin said. “If you look at the games on the whole, we want to get the pace going. We do have a ton of guys playing the first half, just to try to figure out what we want to do but also because, I think, most of the time, our starters play less in the first half than they do in the second. I think that gives us an advantage, I think it helps us because we’re used to playing this way. We play this way all the time. But most teams don’t play the way we play. I just think over the course of the game we’re playing a 40 minute game. A lot of people are just playing a possession game. Possession by possession by possession. Ours is a game. Ours is 40 minutes.”
The Brown and Gold will look to continue their winning streak when they face off against William Paterson University in Esbjornson Gymnasium at 8 p.m. Wednesday night.
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