By Ann Brunn
With a 13-4 record in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, the men’s basketball team has earned a first-round bye in the conference tournament, which will begin on Saturday, Feb. 22. With the College tied for first place with Stockton University, the seedings for the tournament will not be made final until the end of regular season play on Wednesday, Feb. 19. However, the Lions will be hosting one of the semifinal games on Wednesday, Feb. 26, in Packer Hall.
Before this achievement was unlocked, the Lions still had work to do in order to receive one of the top two spots in the tournament. On Wednesday, Feb. 12, they took care of New Jersey City University, 86-66, and then went on to rout Kean University, 94-67, on Saturday, Feb. 15.
Senior guard Randy Walko headlined the game at Packer Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 12, posting 31 points and making this game his fifth 30-point game of the season. In addition, Walko has scored 20 points or higher in 13 games for the Lions this season.
Junior forward Travis Jocelyn followed with 13 points while senior guard Ryan Jensen added nine points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. Rounding out the box score were senior guard Tommy Egan with eight points and six boards and junior guard PJ Ringel, who collected seven points, seven assists and five rebounds.
The matinee on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Kean University was a highlight reel for Walko. He led all scorers with 24 points, notching seven rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a pair of steals. He reached two milestones as well: his seven rebounds put him over 500 rebounds in his career at the College. He is the 12th person in the College’s history to reach this achievement. Also, he asserted himself into seventh place on the all-time scoring list, accumulating 1,418 points in his career at the College.
Jocelyn tallied 19 points and five rebounds as Jensen collected 13 points and seven boards. Sophomore center Danny Bodine scored a career-high 11 points off the bench while Ringel passed the ball around effectively and totaled nine assists. He also scored six points and nabbed five rebounds.
The Lions will head north for their regular season finale against William Paterson University on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.