WAYNE, N.J. – Junior Sean Smith's (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo) game-winning jumper with 3.1 seconds left in overtime secured a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament berth for William Paterson (15-9, 10-7 NJAC) as the Pioneers downed Ramapo (16-8, 10-7 NJAC) on Senior Day, 82-81.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- In the opening stanza, sophomore guard Domenic Mignone (Rutherford, N.J./Rutherford) had the hot hand, scoring 17 points on 7-of-9 (.778) shooting from the field, but neither team was able to gain any separation early on. A five-point Ramapo swing midway through the first gave the visitors their largest lead of the game, 24-18. WP would respond with its own 18-5 burst to build a seven-point cushion with 4:47 remaining. The Roadrunner would erase the deficit within two minutes as the teams headed into the break tied at 38-38.
- Eight ties and five lead changes highlighted the second half as defense dominated the first 15 minutes. Ramapo would string together a small run to build its largest lead of the half, 64-58, at the 5:24 mark. Buckets by Mignone and Hershell Williams (Philadelphia, Pa./Timber Creek) punctuated a 10-4 Pioneer burst as things were deadlocked at 68-68 with 26 seconds to go. Following a timeout, Myles McLeod (Teaneck, N.J./Teaneck) stripped the ball at half court and found a streaking Justin Lingat (Toms River, N.J./Toms River East) in the paint. However, Lingat's layup was ruled to have happen after the final horn and both teams prepped for overtime.
- The flow of overtime mirrored the previous two stanzas as WP and Ramapo traded buckets in the first two minutes. Trailing 79-76 with 1:37 on the clock in the extra session, McLeod's layup made it a one-point contest. Following a Roadrunner turnover, Mignone found Anthony Uribe (Hackensack, N.J./Bergen Catholic) in transition and the junior converted the layup to give the Pioneers their first lead in the period. Ramapo regained the lead and called timeout with 13 seconds remaining. When play resumed, Uribe passed the ball to Smith who drove down the right side and drained a beautiful 18-foot jumper that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Ramapo's last-gasp heave missed the mark as the Pioneers took the game and punched their ticket to the NJAC Tournament.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Mignone matched his career-high with 27 points, his third 20+ point scoring output of the season. Smith finished with 12 points, while Nasir Fields (Winslow Twp., N.J./Winslow Twp.) added 10 tallies and a team-high eight rebounds.
- In the overtime period, William Paterson connected on 83.3 percent (5-6) of its field-goal attempts and went a perfect 4-of-4 from the line.
- Prior to the game, William Paterson honored senior forward Keion Osbourne (Bergenfield, N.J./Pioneer Academy).
- With the win, WP locked up an NJAC Tournament bid and is still in contention to host the opening round. Final seeding will be decided after the games on Feb. 13.
- WP concludes its regular season at The College of N.J. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 8:00 p.m.
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