(Newark, NJ) – Third-seeded Richard Stockton (19-7) succumbed to a late
charge by second-seeded Rutgers-Newark (20-6), and the Ospreys fell
49-46 in the NJAC tournament semifinals. Stockton led for all but 2:09
of the first 38 minutes before the Scarlet Raiders went ahead for good
with just 1:45 to play. Kevin Johnson
(Paulsboro/Paulsboro) was the lone Osprey to reach double figures in
the defensive battle, finishing with 10 points plus seven rebounds and
four steals before fouling out.
Josh Blamon (Cinnaminson/Cinnaminson) contributed nine points followed by Darnell McCargo (Woodlynne/Collingswood) with eight points and eight rebounds, which tied for game-high honors with Rameel Johnson (Newark/Science Park). The Stockton defense limited Rutgers-Newark to just 30.8 shooting from the field but the Ospreys hit just 29.2 percent of their field goal attempts in scoring a season-low 46 points.
Trailing 11-10, Stockton took control of the first half with a 9-0 run that was highlighted by a three-point play from McCargo and ended with Ospreys on top 19-11. Rutgers-Newark battled back and trimmed the Stockton lead to 22-18 at the break after the Ospreys scored just three points in the last seven minutes of the half. Blamon and McCargo led everyone with six first-half points apiece.
In the second half, Jesse Hunt (Freehold/Freehold Boro) scored all five of his points during a 7-0 spurt that gave Stockton a 33-24 lead with 13:03 on the clock. The margin grew to 11 at 42-31 with 6:15 remaining after Mike Perry (Mt. Laurel/Peddie School) scored all five of his points in a 51-second span, but the Ospreys' lead began slipping away from there. Rutgers-Newark reeled off 12 straight points to pull ahead 43-42 at the 3:24 mark.
Kevin Johnson sank consecutive buckets to put Stockton back in front 46-43 with 1:59 left but Rutgers-Newark owned the next two minutes, outscoring the Ospreys 6-0 and out-rebounding them 4-0 for a 49-46 count. Stockton's last chance came on a three-point try by Blamon with seven seconds left that was off the mark, sealing the Ospreys' fate in the 49-46 defeat that eliminated them from the NJAC tournament.
Stockton now will await a probable berth in the ECAC Metro tournament, whose field will be announced on Monday, February 25. The ECAC tourney will begin on February 27.