Late return not enough as men’s basketball falls early in the season
WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut – The University of New Jersey City men’s basketball team, ranked 24th in the d3hoops.com preseason poll, opened their 2021-22 campaign on Saturday, November 6 in the first round of the USJ Tip tournament. Off. The NJCU got off to a slow start against Alvernia University in the first half and, despite a comeback late in the second half, couldn’t get past the Golden Wolves and suffered the 70-60 defeat.
The Gothic Knights (0-1) were held to 24.3% of shots in the first half by Alvernia (1-0) and fell 38-24 after 20 minutes of play. extended which led to 18 points at 48-30 with 12:21 remaining in the game. At this point, NJCU took it up a notch and started to take the lead with a 14-2 run.
Second year Ryan Savoy (Lakewood, NJ / Lakewood), who put in an outstanding performance for the Gothic Knights that day, started with a lay-in at 12:16 p.m., followed by a junior transition bucket Derryen Whyte (Irvington, NJ / Union) at 12:07. Senior Jason Battle (Jersey City, NJ / Roselle Catholic) had a quick layup at 10:25 to bring the score to 48-36.
After a quick bucket of Alvernia, Savoy made another basket in the paint to bring him down to a 12-point deficit. Then, at the other end of the field, Savoy fought off a Golden Wolves shot, which led to a three-point transition in second year. Hakeem Wilson (Newark, NJ / North Star Academy) to make it a nine-point game at 8:59 a.m. Soon after, Battle had a good layup and suffered a foul. He took the free throw at 8:21 to complete the three-point game to make it a six-point game at 50-44.
The NJCU ultimately narrowed it down to a two-point game. Wilson had a pair of free throws at 7:02. Savoy made a bucket at 6:28 to make it 53-45, followed shortly by two junior free kicks Kayton Darley (North Bergen, NJ / North Bergen) to do it 53-50 at 5:55. After a jumper for Alvernia at 5:43, Darley made a three to bring the score to 55-53 with 5:19 to go.
Unfortunately, the Gothic Knights couldn’t come close and the Golden Wolves eventually extended their lead to a 10-point advantage and the 70-60 victory.
– Savoy, the 2020-21 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Year, did not start in all eight games last year. He made his career debut on Saturday and made the most of it. Savoy led NJCU with 17 points and a game best of 11 rebounds for his third career double-double. He also scored a career and match high with six shots blocked.
– Senior Denzel Banks (Newark, NJ / Campus East Orange) and Darley each amassed 10 points. Banks had six boards and three interceptions, while Darley had seven boards and one block.
– Battle tied the score with four assists and also had seven points and two steals.
– The Gothic Knights kept Alvernia 26.7% off the floor in the second half, while shooting almost 40.0% themselves.
NJCU is looking to claim its first victory of the season on Sunday afternoon, November 7, in the consolation match of the USJ Tip-Off tournament at 1:00 p.m. The Gothic Knights will face the University of Maine at Augusta.