JERSEY CITY, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | It's over. Senior twin sisters Marajiah Bacon and Miesha Bacon combined for 46 points, 24 rebounds and multiple memorable moments as the New Jersey City University women's basketball team finally ended a 42-game losing streak spanning three seasons, rallying in the second half to upend the College of Saint Elizabeth, 73-70, on Dec. 10 at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (Coach Charlie Brown Court).
NJCU (1-8), which narrowly lost twice on the opening weekend of the season before beginning a stretch of difficult games, gave new head coach Patrick Devaney his first collegiate win as the Knights battled back from a 37-31 halftime deficit with a strong third quarter and an even stronger fourth quarter finish.
It was the first win for the Gothic Knights since Dec. 20, 2016, a span of time which included a team brawl near the end of and following a game nearly one year earlier. It was also the first win against a Division III school since a Nov. 19, 2016 win at Newbury.
Miesha Bacon had 23 points on 8-for-19 shooting, none bigger than the four she scored in the final 49 seconds of the game. Trailing 70-69 with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter, NJCU got an offensive rebound of a missed three, fed Bacon to the right of the lane, and she proceeded to hit a turnaround jumper off the window to give the Knights the lead for good.
After CSE missed two foul shots with 11.1 seconds left that could have given the Eagles (3-3) back the lead, Bacon grabbed the rebound and calmly sank two free throws with 10.6 seconds remaining to put NJCU in front 73-70. Needing three points to tie, CSE missed a running layup, Marajiah Bacon grabbed the loose ball with 4.8 seconds left and darted up the floor without being caught to run out the clock.
Miesha Bacon had never scored more than 15 points in a game as a collegiate player — in three seasons at Kean (2015-18) or this year in an NJCU uniform. But on a day where she played a monumental role in a win, she registered her first double-double and both points and rebounding marks were career highs. In addition to 23 points, including 6-of-7 foul shooting, she added 14 rebounds and three steals while playing with four fouls.
Marajiah Bacon, the leading scorer in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, matched her sister with 23 points and added 10 rebounds and three steals while playing all but 49 seconds of action. It was her fourth double-double of her career — all in an NJCU uniform — and she increased her career scoring total to 1,784 points as she moves up the league's and NCAA's all-time scoring list. It was the 51st 20-point game of her NCAA career.
NJCU, playing with only seven healthy players dressed after suffering numerous injuries, received 10 points and six rebounds from freshman forward Zyearah Taylor-Gaston and sophomore guard Mya Neal added eight rebounds (six offensive), seven points and three assists.
CSE senior forward Deja Ingram entered the day averaging 15.0 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game — fourth in Division III in blocked shots and 16th in rebounding. She scored 17 points but was 6-for-15 shooting and limited to eight rebounds and two blocks before fouling out in 25 minutes of action.
In her absence, sophomore forward Kamani Williams grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds and contributed 12 points, four assists and three steals. Freshman guard Maria DeVincenzo scored a team-high 21 points in 40 minutes (3-6 from 3-point range) but committed eight turnovers. Junior guard Rakiyah Sellers had 10 points.
NJCU turned 22 St. Elizabeth turnovers into a 20-12 advantage in points off giveaways. The Eagles outscored NJCU 25-18 in the first quarter and held the six-point margin at the break. A 24-16 third quarter allowed NJCU to turn the corner.
NJCU trailed by eight, 47-39, with 4:23 left in the third period before a 12-2 run allowed the Knights to mount a comeback. Miesha Bacon scored the first four points before her sister capped the run with a pair of fast break buckets, including a jumper with 1:45 to go that gave the Knights their first lead of the game (50-49). She buried a long three to close the quarter and give NJCU a 55-53 edge heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, NJCU led by as many as five points (58-53) before CSE ran off 12 of the next 14 points to claim a five-point lead of its own, 65-60, with 3:55 left. Marajiah Bacon helped NJCU flip back on the jets and her layup with 2:31 to go put NJCU back on top, 66-65, before the guests hit a three for a 68-66 cushion with 2:11 to go. Neal's offensive rebound and layup put NJCU back on top, 69-68, with 1:36 to play before Williams followed with a jumper with 1:20 on the clock — leading to the final Bacon heroics.
- Series: 12th meeting. First meeting since February 9, 2005 in Jersey City. NJCU won that day, 83-39. NJCU leads the all-time series, which began in 1977-78, 12-1, and has won the last 11 meetings.
- Marajiah Bacon is now averaging 21.9 points per game. She leads the NJAC in points per game and ranks in the top 20 in the country.
- In addition, Bacon has now scored in double figures 76 times in 77 career games between Kean (2015-18, 67 times in 68 games) and NJCU (nine times in nine games). Other career totals:
- 20-Point Games: 51 (44 at Kean, 7 at NJCU)
- 25-Point Games: 32 (30 at Kean, 2 at NJCU
- 30-Point Games: 16 (all at Kean)
- 40-Point Games: 4 (all at Kean; career high, 44)
- Bacon had her fourth double-digit rebounding effort of the season; she had never had more than nine rebounds in a game in three seasons at Kean.
- Miesha Bacon has now scored in double figures 16 times in her career (13 at Kean, 3 at NJCU). Her previous career highs were 15 points and eight rebounds.
- Taylor-Gaston's 10 points are a career best. She had previously scored nine points on two occasions.