The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Monday April 15th

Reflection on regular season with men’s basketball Coach Goldsmith

<p><em>Coach Goldsmith urging his team on in a timeout (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator).</em></p>

Coach Goldsmith urging his team on in a timeout (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone / Multimedia Coordinator).

By Aidan Mastandrea
Staff Writer

The regular season has come to a close for the College’s men's basketball team as they finished with a 17-8 record. Head coach Matthew Goldsmith and the Lions will head into the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament looking to bring the title back to Ewing for the first time since 2020. 

Heading into the season, there were question marks around the team because of the lack of experience. But quickly, the Lions showed that they should be taken seriously. They were able to win seven of their first eight games, headlined by a win in Glassboro against the reigning conference champions, Rowan. 

“We are young, and in a lot of ways we skipped some growing pains that a lot of young teams go through,” said Goldsmith. 

The tremendous start vaulted the College to first in the conference early on, ahead of recent powerhouses Stockton and Rowan. While the sheer level of success may have been surprising to even Goldsmith, he saw signs in the offseason that this team had the talent to compete at the highest level.

This was especially seen with sophomore guard Nick Koch. Leading the team in points and assists this season with 17 per game and 4.5 per game respectively, he has been one of the most productive players in the conference in just his second year with the program. Koch really shined in the team's summer trip to Greece.

“He was really calm and aggressive early in our games over there. We looked at each other and thought, ‘Well this might happen quicker than we thought,’” said Goldsmith.

The Lions front court is held down by another sophomore, Matthew Solomon. At times this season, Solomon has been dominant on both ends of the floor, even being recognized as the NJAC player of the week in December, along with being named to the “D3hoops” team of the week. He is averaging a double-double with points and rebounds and still has over 70 assists on the year. 

Goldsmith had brief but high praise for his young big.

“He's been a beast,” said Goldsmith.

While the young studs have been stuffing the stat sheet and helping lead this team to fifth place in the NJAC, fifth year senior Jason Larranaga has been the team's backbone. His experience and leadership shined early in the year as the Lions started off hot, but an unfortunate injury forced him to miss some games. The College hit a bit of a skid without Larranaga, losing back-to-back games to Rowan and Montclair State, and Goldsmith believes that had a lot to do with losing the three year captain.

“Jason is as integral to our roster as anyone, and when he went out we felt it, especially defensively,” said Goldsmith.

The good news for the College is that Larranaga is back to full health for the conference tournament run.

Despite the postseason beginning, it will be business as usual for the Lions. This team is talented enough to make a real run, but whatever the outcome, it will be a learning experience to help the program in the future. This young roster has certainly over-achieved, but they are not content. This Lions team leaves everything they have on the floor every night, for better or for worse. 

“They play hard, and as long as you have that, you have a chance,” said Goldsmith. 


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