By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Ewing, New Jersey — The College of New Jersey men’s basketball team got back on track at home. The Lions defeated the William Paterson Pioneers, 74-70, on Wednesday night at Packer Hall.
The Lions improved to 17-6 on the season. They are now 8-1 at home.
“I was really proud of the guys,” Lions head coach Matt Goldsmith I thought we stayed level-headed. Obviously, we weren’t shooting the ball very well. Throughout this season, when we didn’t shoot the ball well, we didn’t get the ‘W.’ It’s kind of the way it’s been. Tonight, we dug in and figured it out when we needed to. We got to the free throw line and kept attacking. We played inside-out. I think that’s a big reason why got it [Wednesday night], because sometimes you’re not going to shoot well. Those things happen and you have to find ways to win. Great teams figure ways to win.”
They are 12-4 within the New Jersey Athletic Conference. TCNJ is tied for second in the conference with New Jersey City University with the 12-4 record.
The Gothic Knights are ahead in the standings because they have an 18-5 record. The Lions are 17-6.
Each team won on their respective home courts in January.
William Paterson fell to 12-11 on the season. They are sixth in the conference with a 7-9 record.
The Lions relied on their three-point shooting in many wins this season. However, in this win, they struggled from beyond the arc, as they went 6-of-27.
“The last couple of days, we tried to get back to the basics,” Goldsmith said. “We tried to get back to what we hang our hats on. Typically, we play post-out and we shoot a lot of three’s, but we get a lot of kick out threes. We draw defenses by playing post-out, so we really encouraged that pregame. And they executed that really well.”
The Pioneers also struggled from three-point range. They went 6-of-20.
Eric Murdock Jr. led the Lions with 26 points. He also had seven rebounds and four steals.
Murdock Jr. was one of two TCNJ players, who scored in double-figures. Randall Walko also had 22 points.
The Lions had 11 bench points. Ryan Jensen led the bench with four points.
George Sapp led the Pioneers with 17 points. He had four rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
“He’s a good player,” Goldsmith said. “He’s a little undersized. He plays hard and gets after it. He knocked down shots tonight. He’s a tough match up offensively on our defensive side, because of his speed.”
Sapp was one of three William Paterson players, who scored in double-figures. Richy Espinal had 15 points, while Dabo Badmos added 10 points.
The Pioneers has 20 bench points. Domenic Mignone led the bench with nine points.