No. 13 William Paterson Men’s Basketball Moves on to NJAC Final with 72-56 Victory
WAYNE, N.J. – No. 13 William Paterson (23-3) advanced to the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Men's Basketball Tournament final with a 72-56 semifinal victory against visiting Kean (7-20) Feb. 22. The Pioneers will play at Richard Stockton, an 89-87 double-overtime winner against Ramapo in the other semifinal, in the championship game Saturday, Feb. 25, at 6:00 p.m.
The NJAC Player of the Year, junior guard/forward Lance Brown (Teaneck, N.J./Paterson Catholic) led all scorers with 19 points, while freshman guard Jaques Conceicao (Massama-Lisboa, Portugal/Francais Charle Lepierre) collected 17 tallies and a team-best six rebounds for William Paterson. Junior guard Rick DeStefano (Marlboro, N.J./Marlboro) had 11 points and four assists, and junior guard Corey Chandler (Newark, N.J./Newark East Side) added five assists to his seven tallies.
A 16-4 run turned a 36-33 game with 14:36 remaining into a 15-point lead for William Paterson as six different Pioneers scored during the span (52-37, 8:31). That advantage never dipped below 11 for the remainder of the contest as William Paterson shot 53.3 (16-30) percent during the second period and 50.0 (26-52) percent overall. The Pioneers out-rebounded the Cougars 38-17, including a 23-8 edge during the final 20 minutes and an 18-6 margin on the offensive glass.
Andrew Kirey led Kean with 17 points, and Ryan Duffy had 10 tallies and three steals.
The Pioneers jumped out to an early advantage, scoring 12 of the game's first 15 points during the opening five minutes. The Cougars answered with a quick 10-0 run, capped by a Kirey alley-oop, to nudge Kean ahead by a 13-12 count with 11:09 on the clock.
Seven lead changes marked the next five minutes until back-to-back scores by Brown gave WP a 22-19 lead at the 5:26 mark. DeStefano's deep three-pointer later made it a 25-21 Pioneer advantage with 2:24 left, but Mike Shaughnessy converted a WP turnover into two points (25-23, 0:51), and another miscue allowed Kean to streak the other way during the waning seconds. DeStefano was whistled for an intentional foul with 0.6 second remaining and Shaughnessy missed both free throws, but Kyle Latorre hit a short baseline jumper on the resulting Cougar inbounds play, knotting the score at 25-25 as the buzzer sounded to end the first period.
The Pioneers return to the NJAC Tournament championship game for the first time since winning the 2010 title with a 70-58 home victory against Richard Stockton.