(Galloway, NJ) – #1 seed Richard Stockton (20-7) shook off a listless first half to defeat #8 seed The Sage Colleges (NY) (13-14) 79-69 in the ECAC Metro tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday night. The Ospreys shot a torrid 63.3% (19-30) in the second half to gain the victory, which earned head coach Gerry Matthews his 15th 20-win season in his 27 years at the helm of the Ospreys.
Stockton trailed for the entire first 20 minutes as Sage ran out to leads as many as 10 points on three separate occasions before the Ospreys rallied to close the gap. Down 29-19, Stockton rattled off 11 points to just four for Sage on the strength of seven points by Rameel Johnson (Newark/Science Park) to end the stanza trailing 33-30. Johnson led Stockton with a total of 10 first-half points.
The Ospreys came out in the second half with renewed purpose as they gained their first tie at 37-37 with 17:17 remaining and then slowly pulled away, eventually leading by as many 19 points with 4:54 left in the game. Darnell McCargo (Woodlynne/Collingswood) and Kevin Johnson (Paulsboro/Paulsboro) led the way after both going scoreless during the first half.
McCargo scored 14 points during the surge with Johnson adding nine more counters as the Ospreys outscored Sage 42-20 over the first 15:05 of the period. The Gators closed the gap to 11 with 3:12 remaining but Stockton answered with five straight points and cruised home to advance to the ECAC tourney semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
McCargo led Stockton with 16 points while Rameel Johnson added 14 counters. Kevin Johnson and Jesse Hunt (Freehold/Freehold Boro) chipped in with 13 and 11 points respectively. Josh Blamon (Cinnaminson/Cinnaminson) had four of the Ospreys' 11 steals in the game.
For Sage, Matt Farbotko led all players with 23 points while teammate Ryan LaBelle added 21 more to the total. Jeff Stopera chipped in with 10 markers for the Gators. Melvin Ford grabbed 11 boards to top all players.
Stockton will host the ECAC Metro semifinals on Saturday at 1 and 3 pm. The Ospreys will take on the winner of #4 Mount St. Mary (NY) and #5 John Jay in the first game of the doubleheader.