Men’s basketball fails at home against William Paterson
JERSEY CITY, NJ – Despite a nine-point lead and a seven-point lead at halftime, the University of New Jersey City men’s basketball team couldn’t hold on to the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (JMAC) against William Paterson University and suffered a 90-82 loss Wednesday night, Jan. 26, in New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) competition. The Gothic Knights made a late second-half run against the Pioneers, reducing the game from 22 points to eight, but could not come close in defeat.
Jersey City (9-10, 6-6 NJAC) had a strong first half against William Paterson (10-7, 7-5 NJAC) and took a 46-39 locker room lead as a senior Kayton Darley (North Bergen, NJ/North Bergen) went 4 for 6, including 2 of 2 of three, in the top 20 to score a then-tied 12 points – he would finish the night with that points tally. Unfortunately, combined with the final bucket of the first half, the Pioneers immediately regrouped during the break and exploded to start the second half, jumping on a 27-4 run and holding a 14-point lead, 64-50 with 13:09 remaining.
The Pioneers eventually opened that lead up to 78-56 with 8:54 to go, and by the time the Gothic Knights began to gradually work their way back into the game with various mini-runs until they trailed by eight at 85-77 with 1:28 left. First-year student Zaire Jefferson (Newark, NJ/Payne Tech) led the second-half surge for the green and gold as the rookie scored nine of his career-best 18 points in the final 5:52 on the night – he saw a collegiate best 23 minutes on the ground against William Paterson, going 7-of-11 from the field.
Another bright spot for NJCU came in the form of senior Denzel Banks (Newark, NJ/East Orange Campus) who, despite foul trouble all night, finished with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting and 6-of-6 from the foul line to go with a game-best eight-board in just 21 minutes.
Looking to get back into the win column, Jersey City returns to action this Saturday afternoon, January 29, for a scheduled 3:00 p.m. caution with the College of New Jersey at JMAC. Time permitting, the NJCU is aiming for its second straight victory over the Lions and its fifth in the last seven meetings. Most recently, the Gothic Knights upset TCNJ 81-72 in Ewing, NJ, on Dec. 11, with Banks and Darley combining for 31 points in the victory.