Late run in final three minutes short as men’s basketball suffers loss to Kean

UNION, NJ – Trailing 12 points with three minutes remaining, the University of New Jersey City men’s basketball team fired up the afterburners up a 12-2 run to make it a two-man game points with 13 seconds left on Wednesday night, February 22. 2, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) road matchup at Kean University. Unfortunately, the Cougars held on and sank their final free throws a second later to seal the Gothic Knights’ four-point loss.

NJCU (10-11, 7-7 NJAC) trailed Kean (12-7, 7-7 NJAC) early and trailed the Cougars by a 15-point margin at 22-7 with 12:35 to go in the first half. The Gothic Knights then made it a game by scoring the next nine points to make it six at 22-16 with 8:27 remaining until the break, including three senior. Denzel Banks (Newark, NJ/East Orange Campus) and junior Derryen Whyte (Irvington, NJ/Union).

Kean then went up 12 points with 6:30 to go and the score at 28-16 in his favor, but Jersey City turned the game on again with a 16-2 run to take a two-point lead, 32- 30 with 1:19 remaining in the first. First-year student Ben Todd (Woodland Hills, CA/El Camino Real Charter) it started with a lay-up, followed by another bucket down from Whyte. Todd then sank a jumper in the senior front paint Jason Battle (Jersey City, NJ/Roselle Catholic) took an out pass from Whyte on a steal and converted on transition. Whyte made it a two-point game with another jumper at 3:45, and after a quick bucket from senior Kean Kayton Darley (North Bergen, NJ/North Bergen) converted on a freshman block Corey Manning-Floyd (Jersey City, NJ/Snyder) grabbing the defensive backboard and going coast to coast for the layup on the break to make it a two-point contest again. Darley and Whyte combined to score the next four runs from the foul line to give NJCU the lead.

The two teams traded the lead back and forth for the first part of the second half and, after a freshman jump in the paint Zaire Jefferson (Newark, NJ/Payne Tech) gave Kean a one-point, 50-49 lead, the Cougars began to extend their advantage up to 12 points on several occasions, going 74-62 with 3:04 remaining. Battle responded with a trio of free throws to cut it down to nine with 2:40 to go. Manning-Floyd responded to a single free kick from Kean with three points (a FT and a lay-up) to reduce it to seven. With less than a minute left, Darley stole the ball and converted with a quick bucket and then, 00:29 on the clock, made a layup to reduce it to 75-72. A Cougar free throw six seconds later was answered by a Battle layup with 0:13 to go in regulation to make it 76-74. Unfortunately, Kean hit his last two foul shots and Banks couldn’t convert on three attempts with time running out and the Cougars sealed it.

Strong points:
– Whyte led NJCU with a team-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting (63.6%), including 3-of-6 from long range. He also grabbed five rebounds, two assists and had a steal before committing a foul after a team-record 31 minutes of starting game time.
– Darley and Todd also each finished in double digits. The former finished with 11 points in 15 minutes, while the latter scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked a shot.
– Banks and Battle each finished with nine points. Manning-Floyd led the NJCU with a team-best six boards to win with six points and a block before also committing a late foul.

Following:
The Gothic Knights return to action on the road this Saturday afternoon, February 5, for a 3:00 p.m. tip against Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ. They are looking for their second consecutive victory against the Roadrunners, but first at Mahwah since November. 23, 2013.

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