MARIETTA, Ohio (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | The New Jersey City University's men's basketball team had its season end in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third consecutive season as the Gothic Knights could not find an answer for an Arcadia University squad that shot 59.5 percent and eliminated NJCU from the national championship tournament, 80-60, on March 1. The neutral site contest was played at Marietta College's Ban Johnson Arena.
NJCU's 86th season of intercollegiate men's basketball ends with a 20-8 ledger, losing three of its final four games. The Gothic Knights were making their 21st appearance in the NCAA Tournament—19th as a Division III program—and playing their 41st ever NCAA game (17-24). It was the fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament in which NJCU was eliminated in the first round.
Arcadia (23-5), champion of the Middle Atlantic Commonwealth conference, won the first NCAA game played in program history and advanced to face host Marietta, winners over Maryville (Tenn.) in the other Friday opening action, in the second round.
The 60 points was NJCU's lowest scoring output of the season and the Knights trailed by 18 at halftime in a game it never led. NJCU was able to whittle the deficit to 10 late in the second half (65-55, 4:49) before Arcadia used a 15-0 run late to seal the win. It led by as many as 25 (80-55) late in the game.
Arcadia shot 37 free throws in the game, scoring 28 points from the line (75.7 foul percentage). NJCU went to the line just 11 times (8-11). Arcadia was successful on 25-of-42 shots from the floor, scoring 40 points in the paint. It only attempted nine three-pointers in the game. NJCU shot 23-of-72 (.319) for the game and 6-of-25 (.240) from three-point distance.
NJCU played perhaps its worst first half of the season in a tightly-officiated game that saw five key players draw at least two fouls in the first 20 minutes. NJCU shot a dismal 19.4 percent (7-36) overall and 18.2 percent from three-point range (2-11) in the opening half and Arcadia exploited that, shooting 55.0 percent (11-20) while outscoring NJCU in the paint, 18-8.
Every time NJCU chipped away at the lead in the second half, Arcadia had an answer as its field goal percentage reached 63.6 percent in the second period (14-of-22).
After NJCU drew within 11-7 with 14:51 to go in the first half, Arcadia scored the next eight points to push the lead into double figures (19-7) as the Gothic Knights went scoreless for a span of 4:43.
NJCU was able to whittle the margin to six (23-17) with 6:22 to go in the first half but Arcadia responded with another run, this time 11-0, to seize a 17-point, 34-17 advantage with 3:24 left in the half. NJCU went scoreless for a span of 4:12 and without a field goal for nearly five minutes. NJCU went 1-of-13 from the field during that drought and Arcadia led by double figures the remainder of the contest.
Senior guard Josh Scott (Darby, Pa.) led Arcadia with a game-high 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 11-of-13 free throws. He added five rebounds and drew eight fouls for the Knights.
Junior forward Sam Toney, the two-time New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Year, had a rocky first half (1-of-11 FG, 0-5 3FG) before bouncing back in the second half and finishing with his fifth double-double of the season and 23rd of his career, scoring 19 points with a game-high 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Also for NJCU, senior Yuri Brutus was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and finished with 12 points and six rebounds in his final collegiate game while senior swing James Julius' career ended with 10 points (4-9 FG, 2-5 3FG).
Senior guard Lavrone Green had five points, five rebounds and four assists in his final game and finished his career with 1,008 collegiate points playing for NJCU (2017-19, 623 points), Ramapo (2016-17, 18 points) and Montclair State (2014-15, 367 points).
For Arcadia, senior forward Evan Slone (Souderton, Pa.) scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and sophomore guard Da'Kquan Davis (Philadelphia, Pa.) finished with 13 points (4-9 FG), nine rebounds and three assists.
- Series vs. Arcadia: Second meeting (first since December 30, 2003). All-time series even, 1-1.
- NJCU is 1-1 all-time in the NCAA Tournament vs. members of the MAC Commonwealth Conference.
- NJCU loses its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament game dating to the 2004 NCAA Sweet 16 vs. Amherst.
- NJCU was making a trip to the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive seasons for the first time since being selected five straight years from 1994-95 to 1998-99. It marks the third time in school history the program has reached the NCAA Tournament in three or more consecutive years (1977-78 to 1979-80).
- It was the third consecutive year NJCU has reached the field as an at-large Pool C bid and its 12th overall appearance as an at-large Pool B or Pool C selection.
- Overall, NJCU was making its 21st NCAA Tournament appearance and 19th as a Division III institution—tied for the 15th most in Division III history.
- NJCU falls 17-24 in 41 all-time NCAA Tournament games and 17-22 as a Division III program.
- NJCU was playing its 20th neutral site game in NCAA Tournament history and is 7-13 in those matchups.
- NJCU falls to 0-3 all-time in NCAA Tournament games in the state of Ohio. In 1992, NJCU, then known as Jersey City State College, reached the NCAA Final Four, hosted by Wittenberg in Springfield, Ohio. On March 20, 1992 it lost to eventual national champion Calvin College (81-40) in the national semifinal before losing to Wisconsin-Platteville in the third-place game on March 21, 1992 (72-61).
- The 20-point margin was the fourth most lopsided loss in the program's NCAA history—and largest since losing to Calvin by 41 in that 1992 national semifinal. It also lost by 23 to Siena College (87-64) in the 1974 Division II Tournament and by 23 to eventual national champion North Park (86-63) in the 1980 Elite 8.
- NJCU's previous 2018-19 season scoring low was a 64-62 win at Rutgers-Newark on January 26.
- Sam Toney finished his junior season with 1,362 points—11th in school history—and currently has the most points by a three-year player ever at NJCU.
- Sam Toney produced his 23rd career double-double and fifth of the season.
- Sam Toney reached double figures in rebounds for the 24th time in his career and fifth time this season.
- Sam Toney scored in double figures for the 65th time in 84 career games.
- Yuri Brutus scored in double figures for the 13th time this year and the 32nd time in his career.
- James Julius scored 10+ points for the eighth time this season and the 27th time in his collegiate career.
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