Men’s Basketball head toward the NJAC playoffs hot

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Jerry Price (center) handles the ball and looks to Matt Green (right). Editor in Chief / Miguel Martinez.

The profs are hot heading into the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) playoffs as they won four games in a row and five out of their last six.

Before this last stretch of wins, Rowan were outside the playoff picture but now are in sitting at the five seed heading into Senior Night versus Kean on Wednesday night.

“They always stuck together and kept competing,” Head Coach Joe Crispin said. “In my belief, if you keep doing that sooner or later things will start to click.”

Within the last three weeks, Rowan has been playing every game like it’s the playoffs.

“The last three weeks our kids have been in playoff mode,” Crispin said. “They knew they had to win to get to the playoffs so I think that’s an advantage for us.”

The seniors have been pushing this team forward the last couple weeks with big games from guards Jerry Price, Maliq Sanders, Matt Green and forward Austin Kearney. Without the play from those four, the team wouldn’t be in this position.

“I want them to play free and be aggressive. I think that’s a big thing that they embraced.” Crispin said. “We like taking risks and being on the attack. If anything defines Rowan basketball, that’s us. We do take risks and we do attack a lot. During these last three weeks, a lot of guys have stepped up.”

If the playoffs started today, they would travel to Rutgers-Newark in the first round of the NJAC tournament.

But if Rutgers-Newark loses and Rowan wins on Wednesday night, the Profs would be tied with Rutgers-Newark for the fourth seed in the conference. Rowan would get the fourth seed since they beat Rutgers-Newark twice this season. 

So Wednesday night has big playoff implications all over the NJAC.

The playoff schedule will be released on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. 

When the playoffs start, the hottest team will be Rowan. They are the last team anyone wants to face. Either on the road or at home you never want to face a hot team entering the playoffs no matter the seed. 

“Our goal here is to win the NJAC championship but to compete for national championships,” Crispin said. “We say at the beginning of each year that we want to be the team nobody wants to play late February and early March. That’s always my goal and each year so far I feel like we’ve become that team.”

The defending champs have a lot of work to do but the task can be done. 

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