Cougars Fall in Final Seconds to NJCU, 58-57

Cougars Fall on Final Second NJCU Foul Shot

UNION, N.J. (1/30/10) - Junior forward Antoine Rogers (Trenton, N.J.) hit 1-of-2 foul shots with seven seconds remaining to give New Jersey City University a 58-57 win over host Kean University in New Jersey Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon. 

Kean junior forward Jonathan Jones (Linden, N.J.) (pictured right) recorded his seventh straight double-double with game highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Cougars (7-13, 4-5 NJAC).  Freshman forward Walik Albright (Jersey City, N.J.) led the Gothic Knights (10-9, 4-5 NJAC) with 11 points.

Tied at 55-55, NJCU took a two-point lead on a pair of foul shots by senior guard Josh Lopez (Jersey City, N.J.) with just over two minutes remaining.  On Kean's next possession, senior guard Dean Hughes (Pemberton Twp., N.J.) tied the game back up with a jumper with 1:55 left in the game.

Each team had two opportunities to take the lead on ensuing possessions, however Rodgers grabbed a Cougar miss with seven seconds remaining and after being fouled on the rebound, he knocked the second of two free throws to give the Gothic Knights the one-point lead. 

The Cougars had one last chance at a game-winner, however they were unable to inbound the ball cleanly and the desperation shot at the buzzer was off the mark.

In the first half, the Gothic Knights scored 14 straight points to take a 28-10 lead with 4:24 left in the half.  However, the Cougars closed the half with 14 unanswered points of their own to cut the lead back to four points, as senior guard Eugene Tolliver (East Orange, N.J.) knocked down two free throws with no time on the clock to trail only 28-24 at the break.

Jones had 10 points and five rebounds off the bench for the Cougars, while Lopez led NJCU with six points and four rebounds in the first half.

The Cougars extended the run to 25 straight points after scoring the first seven points of the second half, building a 35-28 lead with 15:05 remaining.  Albright ended the run for NJCU with a lay-up, before a three-point play by Kean senior forward Rodlin Pierre (Orange, N.J.) gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game at 38-30 with 14:23 left.

NJCU answered back with a 9-1 run, tying the game at 39-39, however the Cougars would again counter to go back up 52-47 with 7:44 remaining.  Four straight points by NJCU trimmed the deficit to 52-51 and Rogers would tie the game at 53-53 on a lay-up. 

A pair of free throws from Hughes (pictured left) again gave the Cougars a two-point lead, before Lopez hit the second of two free throws to tie the game at 55 with 2:37 to go. 

Senior guard Vinnie Darpino (Colonia, N.J.) finished with nine points, while Hughes and Pierre each added six points apiece off the bench for Kean. 

For NJCU, Lopez had nine points, three assists and three steals, and Rogers added eight points and five rebounds.

The Cougars return to action on Wednesday, February 3, when they travel to Rutgers-Camden for a NJAC doubleheader.  Tip-off for the men is set for 6 p.m.