JERSEY CITY, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | The New Jersey City University basketball team shot 58.1 percent in the second half when it blew out The College of New Jersey for the second time this season, leading by as many as 30 points before beating the Lions, 75-59, in New Jersey Athletic Conference action on February 6 at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (Coach Charlie Brown Court).
With the victory, NJCU clinches a bye into the NJAC Tournament semifinals on February 19 and coupled with William Paterson's 94-89 upset of Rowan in Glassboro, the Gothic Knights seal at worst a pre-tiebreaker share of the conference's regular season championship. NJCU can lock up its 14th NJAC regular season championship and its first since 2015-16 when it hosts Rutgers-Camden on Senior Day on February 9.
Meanwhile, NJCU improves to 10-0 at home, wins its fifth consecutive game and improved to 9-1 since the beginning of 2019. TCNJ falls to 13-10 and 9-7 in the NJAC and falls into a three-way tie with Montclair State and William Paterson for the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds in the conference tournament.
After NJCU roasted the Lions in Ewing by 25 points (82-57) back on December 15, the Knights swept a season series from TCNJ for the first time since the 2012-13 season after the clubs split in each of the previous five years.
NJCU led wire-to-wire and held a comfortable 33-24 lead at halftime before putting its foot on the accelerator in the second half when the Knights shot 5-of-10 (.500) from three-point range. NJCU had more steals (9) than turnovers (8) in the contest.
Preseason First-Team All-American and junior small forward Sam Toney led all players in both points (16) and rebounds (9), shooting 5-of-9 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line with two blocks.
Senior forward James Julius started for the seventh consecutive game and contributed 13 points, hitting three big threes during the outburst that pushed the margin into unreachable orbits. He shot 5-of-7 overall and 3-of-5 from three-point land in 20 minutes, adding three assists. Senior point guard Shaquan Worthy paced the offense with five points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists.
Also for NJCU, senior guard James Richardson netted 11 points (5-8 FG) with three assists and sophomore guard Denzel Banks added nine points and six rebounds in 17 minutes. Senior forward Yuri Brutus chipped in nine pints (4-8 FG) and seven rebounds.
For TCNJ, senior guard Joe Montano (Eatontown, N.J.) was the Lions top scorer off the bench, scoring 13 (4-7 FG, 3-6 3FG). Junior Randy Walko (Somerville, N.J.), the leading scorer in the league coming into the day, was held in check by NJCU's defense for the second time this season. After scoring five points on 2-of-14 shooting the first go-around, he had 11 points (4-10 FG) and six rebounds in the most recent loss.
Leading 35-27 in the opening minute of the second half, NJCU unleashed a wicked 12-0 run. Brutus scored on back-to-back possessions, Toney put back an offensive rebound and Richardson and Julius buried threes to vault the lead to 20 points at the 13:59 mark.
The lead consistently grew from there, reaching 24 at the midway point of the half (60-36) on another Julius trey and 30 points (68-38) on a steal and fast break basket by reserve rookie point guard Gralen Vereen with 6:05 remaining before NJCU cleared its bench in the final six minutes.
Series: 145th known meeting during the NJAC era (since 1955-56). NJCU leads all-time, 79-46.
Sam Toney moved into 13th place in school history with 1,304 points in three years, passing Jeff Harrington (1302 points, 1997-2001), on the career list. Toney had two all-time greats in front of him to chase in the next week:
11th: Charlie Brown * (1962-65, 1324 points)
12th: Darren Watkins (1988-92, 1318 points)
Sam Toney scored in double figures for the 61st time in 79 career games.
James Julius scored 10+ points for the sixth time this season and the 25th time in his collegiate career.
James Richardson scored in double figures for the eighth in his only season playing for NJCU.
On Senior Day 2019 in the final regular season home game, NJCU hosts Rutgers-Camden on Saturday, February 9 at 3 p.m. NJCU won the first meeting this year on January 12 in Camden, N.J., 81-57. It will be the 70th meeting in a series NJCU has dominated, 64-5. NJCU has won 26 of the last 27 meetings and 54 of the last 56 matchups. Prior to the game, NJCU will honor its talented 2019 senior class: Yuri Brutus, Lavrone Green, James Julius, Salomon Pierre, James Richardson and Shaquan Worthy.
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