Stallworth is clutch in conference opener

The men’s basketball team remains unbeaten, slipping by the Profs of Rowan University 50-49 last Tuesday thanks to some late-game heroics by senior guard Jason Stallworth. With the win, the Lions improve to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference.

With the shot clock winding down, Stallworth hit the go-ahead three-pointer, putting the Lions on top 48-47. The Profs regained the lead with under a minute to play, as sophomore guard Matt Byrnes hit a jump shot.

On the next possession, Stallworth broke for the basket and sunk a layup with 20 seconds left that brought the Lions’ home crowd to its feet.

“We didn’t call a time out, but Stallworth beat his man from the top of the key and hit a floater in the lane,” junior guard Brian Halligan said.

On the Profs’ ensuing possession, junior guard Tim Bowser was denied as Lions senior forward Scott Findlay swatted his layup attempt out of bounds.

With 1.5 seconds left on the clock, the Lions double-teamed Byrnes, who dropped 50 points against Philadelphia Biblical University in his last game, forcing the inbounds pass to freshman guard Billy Care. Care tossed up a desperation heave that flew off the mark.

Last year, the Profs ended the Lions’ season, bouncing them out of the quarterfinals of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament. Still, with many newcomers, this game was not about revenge. “That wasn’t in our minds because our team has four new starters,” Halligan said. “We were more focused on getting off to a good start in the conference.”

Halligan led the way for the Lions, finishing with a game-high 14 points while Findlay added nine points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. The Lions held Byrnes to just 13 points.

In other non-conference action, the Lions began the season by taking the championship title at the Salem State College Tip-Off Tournament, beating host Salem on Nov. 20 and Curry College the day before.

The Lions had to battle against Salem, but exploded in the second half to come away with the 62-51 victory. The Lions were a combined 0-for-11 from downtown in the first half en route to a 25-21 halftime deficit.

Led by junior forward Matt Diamond, the Lions came out roaring in the second half, opening with a 10-0 run. Diamond caught fire and knocked down five three-pointers in the half, finishing the game with 21 points. “Coach ran a play for the first three-pointer and I just went from there,” Diamond said.

Findlay chipped in with 14 points, while Stallworth had a fine game with nine points, nine boards and six assists. “We played tough defense and slowed it down,” Diamond said. “We made them play our style of game.”

In the previous game, the Lions advanced past the first round of the tournament with a 59-57 win over Curry College. Findlay dominated in the post, putting up a Tim Duncan-like double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

With excellent shot selection, the Lions shot 50 percent from the field en route to the win. Senior forward Dan DeSerio added seven points and 10 boards, while Diamond chipped in with 11 points.

The Lions will hope to carry the momentum over when they play host to Richard Stockton College on Wednesday in the 8