Photo by Tony Maddox/JSN

Rutgers-Camden men’s basketball falls short of playoffs

On Wednesday night, Rutgers Camden (13-12) played New Jersey City University (8-17). The Scarlet Raptors played, hoping to secure a spot in the NJAC playoffs. Spirits were high on the court and in the stands, as there was so much on the line. Not only was it a chance to make the playoffs, it was also a chance to make history. Since joining the NJAC during the 1983-1984 season, Rutgers-Camden has yet to qualify for the conference playoffs. Before Wednesday night's game, Camden was in a three-way tie with Rutgers Newark and Kean University. This was their last chance but unfortunately fell short. NJCU defeated Rutgers after a close battle, 84-78.

Rutgers-Camden fought hard and secured a lead during the first half. At the start of the game, the Scarlet Raptors had trouble keeping up. By the 11-minute mark, Rutgers Camden secured a lead with a three-point shot by Sean Jules. They held onto that lead for most of the half, with only two lead changes. The players worked hard on defense and secured numerous rebounds, helping them maintain the advantage. In the first half, the team had 11 rebounds and two blocks. NJCU also fought hard defensively, with 19 rebounds and three blocks. The Knights stole the lead with just one minute left of the first half, but Cameron Downs took it back with a layup. The first half ended with Rutgers Camden leading 36-35.

Both teams came out on fire in the second half, as it was a tight game for most of the half. A jumper and a layup from NJCU's Daniel Rodriguez put the Knights ahead for good. The Scarlet Raptors kept it close for most of the second half as they kept their deficit around four. Rutgers-Camden lost momentum, and many sloppy defense attempts turned into fouls.

With just five minutes left in the game, the Knights took an 11-point lead, 73-62. This ignited something in the Scarlet Knights, as they then scored six straight points, tightening the gap to just 73-68. NJCU maintained its lead, but Rutgers-Camden did not give up. Jordany Pierre hit a three-pointer, and they were now only down by three points with just one minute remaining in regulation. Downs made both his foul shots, giving NJCU only a one-point lead. However, with tensions so high, Rutgers-Camden continued to foul, and the Knights were able to create a larger lead for themselves. Despite their best efforts, Rutgers-Camden fell short against NJCU and the NJAC playoffs.