WAYNE, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | Junior All-American forward Sam Toney (Plainfield, NJ/Williamstown) became the 29th member of the New Jersey City University 1,000-point club midway through the second half but the No. 24 ranked Gothic Knights were outplayed in the second period and shocked by rival William Paterson, 88-72, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game on November 28 at the William Paterson Rec Center.
Toney became the first Gothic Knight to reach the milestone since Khalid Muhammad late in the 2014-15 season when he netted his ninth and 10th points of the game on an offensive rebound and putback with 11:11 remaining in the second half. But it was a second half the Gothic Knights (4-2, 1-1 NJAC) would like to forget.
NJCU could not find an answer for William Paterson's hot shooting. The Pioneers (4-3, 1-1 NJAC) hit on 61.7 percent of its shots (29-47), including a staggering 65.2 percent in the second half—15-of-23 success—and connected on a sizzling 65.0 percent of its three-point shots. The Pioneers buried 13-of-20 threes in the game. WP also shot 17-of-24 from the line (.708).
When a team is shooting that well, they're unbeatable and the Pioneers outscored NJCU 50-35 in the second half after clutching a one-point lead at the break.
Despite WP shooting 58.3 percent overall in the first half (14-24), including 66.7 percent from three-point distance (8-12), the hosts only led 38-37. That was largely due to junior shooting guard Jeff Haddock, Jr. (Burlington Township, NJ/Willingboro), who scored 13 of NJCU's first 22 points.
But the Pioneers came out of the locker room on a 12-2 run in the first three minutes of the second half to seize a 50-39 lead as four different players scored. NJCU couldn't draw closer than six points the rest of the night.
After Toney hit a pair of foul shots with 13:24 to go to pull within one point of 1,000, NJCU trailed 55-48. From there, the Pioneers netted the next 11 points—an outburst that was only halted by Toney's 1000th point—and WP's 11-0 run covering just 2:13 of game time pushed the lead to 18 (66-48). The Pioneers cruised from there, leading by as many as 22 (85-63, 4:27 left).
Toney scored six in the first half but recovered to match Haddock with a team-high 15 points. Toney shot 7-of-8 from the line and 4-of-10 from the field, adding seven rebounds in 28 minutes. He has 1,006 career points. Haddock shot 4-of-8, including 3-of-7 three-point accuracy, and 4-of-4 from the line, in 22 minutes.
Also for NJCU, senior point guard James Richardson (Jersey City, NJ/Snyder) reached double figures for the first time in an NJCU uniform since joining the program this fall. He had 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Sophomore shooting guard Denzel Banks (Newark, NJ/(East Orange Campus), this week's NJAC Player of the Week, finished with nine points.
For the sharp-shooting hosts, junior forward Sean Smith (Moraga, Calif.) was the biggest impact player, posting video-game like numbers. He scored a game-high 29 points with a ridiculous effort of 9-of-13 from the field and a lights-out 8-of-11 from three-point range in just 26 minutes before fouling out.
Also for WP, junior guard Sajimir Asani (Lincoln Park, N.J.) came off the bench to score 17 points in 19 minutes. He was 3-of-3 from the field—all from three-point distance—and 8-of-10 from the line. Sophomore guard Justin Lingat (Toms River, N.J.) had 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 20 minutes. Sophomore guard Domenic Mignone (Rutherford, N.J.) handed out eight assists and had six boards.
The loss will likely factor in when the next national poll is released on December 3 and the Gothic Knights will be in danger of falling out of the Top 25 after being ranked No. 16 in the preseason by D3hoops.com.
- Series: 153rd known meeting. NJCU leads all-time, 82-71.
- NJCU ranked No. 24 by D3hoops.com.
- Sam Toney (Plainfield, NJ/Williamstown) scored in double figures for the 48th time in 62 career games.
- Jeff Haddock scored in double figures for the ninth time in 18 appearances for NJCU. He has scored in double figures 28 times in 57 career games between NJCU and Rowan (2016-18).
- NJCU returns home on Saturday, December 1 at 3 p.m. when it hosts Rowan University (4-1, 1-1 NJAC) at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (Coach Charlie Brown Court). It will be the 123rd known meeting and the all-time series is even at 61-61.
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