The College’s men’s basketball team used a second-half scoring outburst to defeat Kean University on Saturday 72-60 in Union. Senior center Scott Findlay scored 13 of his 15 points and the team shot an impressive 65 percent from the field in the decisive second half.
The win raised the College’s record to 4-1 and 2-1 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). Kean’s record dropped to 2-3 and 1-2 in the NJAC.
“We tried to stay with our original game plan in the second half,” head coach John Castaldo said. “We shot the ball very well in the second half, and that allowed us to open up the game a little bit. When you make shots, things are a little smoother.”
Senior guard Jason Stallworth was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and the free-throw line, finishing with 16 points. Junior forward Matt Diamond led all scorers with a game-high 18 points, going 10-for-11 from the charity stripe.
“The way we play, there isn’t a conscious effort to get anyone the ball,” Castaldo said. “We try to have good ball movement and run the shot-clock down a little bit to maybe compensate for other teams’ athletic abilities.”
After a first half that saw the two squads tied 27-27, Stallworth scored the first points of the second half and the Lions went from there, outscoring the Cougars 45-33.
Senior forwards Bobby Davison and Dan DeSerio rounded out the scoring for the Lions with eight points and five rebounds each.
The College fell to Richard Stockton College 58-56 on Wednesday in Packer Hall. Junior guard Kris Polk led Stockton with 15 points, and senior forward Michael Rodriguez posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
“We just missed some open shots and didn’t come out as intense as we should have in the first half,” Findlay said.
DeSerio led the Lions with a career-high 18 points. Findlay also posted a double-double, scoring 14 points and collecting 10 rebounds.
“Stockton did a good job of doubling me and making other guys make shots,” Findlay said. “I thought (DeSerio) did a good job.”
The Lions opened the game with a 9-4 run, but Polk used 13 of his 15 points to help the Ospreys to a 29-23 halftime lead. DeSerio hit three consecutive three-pointers in 11-3 Lions run to open the second half to take a 34-32 lead. But the Ospreys took a 53-51 lead with three minutes to play thanks to some strong offense rebounding by Rodriguez.
The College regained the lead at 54-53 with two minutes to play in the game when Findlay hit a layup and three-pointer. Senior guard Sid Jackson gave Stockton a 55-54 lead it would not relinquish. Rodriguez added two more off one of his six offensive rebounds to give Stockton a 57-54 lead.
Senior guard Brian Halligan saw an open three-point attempt with four seconds left to play hit the rim. Rodriguez collected the rebound and hit one of two free throws. DeSerio hit a lay-up as time expired, but it was too little too late.
“We lost six players and 60 points per game from a team who won 18 games last year so we have a lot of guys that haven’t seen time in the past,” Castaldo said when asked how he felt about the team’s performance so far this season. “We didn’t know what to expect, but one thing this team has already proven is they have a tremendous work ethic. They play hard and that is something that, from a coaching standpoint, you love to see.”