By Aidan Mastandrea
The College’s men's basketball team took a trip to Glassboro, New Jersey, to take on Rowan University on Wednesday night. They walked away with a hard fought 82-72 win.
Both programs are off to solid starts this season. Rowan, coming off a sweet 16 run just last season, was 4-2 heading into Wednesday with a 0-1 conference record. The College came in boasting a strong 5-1 record and a 1-0 conference record with a 75-68 win over Rutgers-Camden in their previous game.
The three ball was falling early for the College, as they hit five in the first 20 minutes, and defensively they seemed to have Rowan's number. The typically high-powered offense of the Profs was limited to just 26 points heading into the break.
Scoring came in bunches for the Lions in the first half. Senior Jack Vreeswyk continued his recent hot streak with 10 points in the half. Sophomore Nick Koch ran the show from the point guard spot, setting up his teammates while also pouring in 11 points of his own as the College went into halftime up 42-26.
Early on in the second half, the College’s lead ballooned to 20 and it looked as if they would cruise to a big victory, but the tide quickly turned. Five minutes into the half, Rowan started to apply the pressure. The full court press proved challenging for the Lions.
Turnovers and missed shots started to compile for the College due to the pressure from the Profs, and a layup by Rowan's Khalif Meares cut the Lions’ lead to 56-53 with just nine minutes remaining.
The game then became the Jason Larranaga show. The fifth year senior and captain for the Lions halted the Profs' run by hitting three threes and scoring 13 points in just three minutes of game time. Larranaga finished with a team high and a career high 23 points.
Another late push from Rowan gave the Lions a scare, but they ultimately pulled out the win thanks to the run led by Larranaga. This win took the Lions to 2-0 in NJAC play and 6-1 overall. Looking ahead, they will face off with New Jersey City University in Packer Hall on Dec. 2 and will travel to Kean University on Dec. 9 to continue their conference schedule.