MONTCLAIR, NJ – New Jersey City University men’s basketball traveled to Montclair State University for the penultimate New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) game of the season on Saturday, February 12. About a month ago, the Green and Gold took out the Red Hawks in another close game, winning 69-66 at the John J. Moore Athletics & Fitness Center (JMAC). Despite taking the lead at halftime, the Gothic Knights ultimately lost 62-59 in today’s game. The NJCU now moves to seventh place overall in the NJAC conference standings heading into the final week of the regular season.
Jersey City (11-13, 8-9 NJAC) and the Red Hawks (13-8, 9-7 NJAC) were neck and neck for most of the game, especially in the first half. Montclair got off to a fast start, leading 7-0 in the first four minutes. Junior Derryen Whyte (Irvington, NJ/Union) scored the top five for NJCU – Whyte held the team’s overall high of 16 points in today’s contest. Senior Captain Jason Battle (Jersey City, NJ/Roselle Catholic) had two good free throws, followed by a senior layup Kayton Darley (North Bergen, NJ/North Bergen). NJCU trailed 10-9 halfway through the period, into year two Ryan Savoy (Lakewood, NJ/Lakewood) threw a dunk in transition after a Montclair turnover.
Senior Captain Wonderful Akingbala (Union, NJ/Union) put on a sweater, tying the game 13-13. With extra shots by freshmen Zaire Jefferson (Newark, NJ/Payne Tech) and Ben Todd (Woodland Hills, CA/El Camino Real Charter)Darley and senior captain Denzel Banks (Newark, NJ/East Orange Campus), the Gothic Knights held an eight-point lead of 23-15. The Red Hawks were able to come back, tying the game 27-27, with an extra free throw from Whyte. Savoy made the final jump of the half, leaving NJCU in the lead 29-28 by the buzzer.
The Verts et Or held on for the first two minutes of the new half. Darley and Banks scored the first points, increasing the lead to 34-28. However, Jersey City appeared to be at a standstill for the next four minutes, giving the Red Hawks the opportunity to take a 40-34 lead. Todd made a jump in the 14th minute, followed by freshman layups Corey Manning-Floyd (Jersey City, NJ/Snyder) and Whyte. In the final 10 minutes, Montclair led NJCU 46-40. Battle, Banks, Whyte and Jefferson added baskets until the last four minutes. Darley took a leap, tying the game 54-54. Darley was immediately followed by another Banks layup to make it 56-54 NJCU. In the final minute, Whyte added three points on free throws, but the Red Hawks didn’t back down. Montclair had a jumper and a late free throw to end the game 62-59.
– Whyte finished with a team-high 16 points, followed by Banks with 11, then Darley and Todd with seven apiece.
– Savoy found the most rebounds for NJCU, leading with nine; Whyte followed with six and Banks with four.
– Jefferson and Battle each had three assists; Battle also had two interceptions.
– Todd did two blocks today; Savoy, Whyte, Darley and Manning-Floyd each counted one.
The NJCU will honor the Class of 2022 seniors ahead of NJAC’s final game against conference rival Stockton University. The Gothic Knights defeated the Ospreys in the NJAC Championship Finals last year to win the conference title. Darley made a final three-point shot from the buzzer-beater to leave the NJCU victorious, 79-77 over Stockton. The clash will take place on Wednesday February 16 at 8:00 p.m. at the JMAC. Follow all the action live Gothic vision.