By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Ewing, New Jersey — The College of New Jersey men’s basketball team needed to send the game into overtime to escape a potential loss on Saturday afternoon at home. The Lions trailed late before tying the game with little more than one second remaining.
In overtime, the Lions seemed like a rejuvenated team after tying the game. They came back to defeat the Kean Cougars, 78-73, at Packer Hall.
With the win, TCNJ improved to 14-3 on the season. They improved to 9-1 within the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
The Lions have the second-best record in the conference. Only the Ramapo Roadrunners, who TCNJ defeated earlier this month, have the conference-leading 10-1 mark.
The loss dropped Kean to 5-13 overall. They also fell to 3-8 within the conference.
With five seconds remaining, the Lions were trailing 69-64, before Niall Carpenter made a three-point basket to make it 69-67 with four seconds remaining. TCNJ then played stellar defense that caused an inbounds five-second violation.
The turnover gave the Lions new hope to tie the game. The inbound passer then threw the ball to Randall Walko, who had a smaller defender guarding him.
Then, Walko made a layup with multiple Kean players surrounding him. The Cougars missed a half court shot as time expired in regulation with the score tied at 69.
In overtime, Walko scored four of the nine points for TCNJ. Eric Murdock Jr. scored the other five points in the extra session.
Kean scored four points in overtime. DeAndre Thomas made a jumper, while Carry Saturne made a layup.
Walko led the Lions with 25 points. He also had six rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
TCNJ had four players, who scored in double-figures. Murdock Jr. had 12 points and Elias Bermudez added 11 points.
Ryan Jensen came off the bench with 12 points. TCNJ had 15 bench points.
Kean was led by Keenan Williams Jr. and Justin Watson with 17 points each. Williams Jr. had seven rebounds, two assists, one block and three steals.
Watson also had seven rebounds, three assists, one block, and two steals.
Williams Jr. and Watson were the only Cougars players, who scored in double-figures. They also had 22 bench points with Saturne leading the bench with seven points.