The looks on the NJIT students’ faces as they entered the brand new Health and Wellness Center told you all you needed to know Saturday night.
A mixture of “Wow”, “This is ours?”, “Unbelievable”, and good-old silent mouths agape were heard and seen as nearly 3,000 entered, approximately a third of those students. To understand the present (and future) of why the $110-million facility is so staggering and important for NJIT, you have to start in the past.
Disrespecting the deceased is never a good look, but now that it’s gone I think we can all say that NJIT’s Fleisher Center was, well, inadequate for a Division I team. Or possibly your local varsity high school squad.
Roland Nyama, perhaps Stony Brook’s best defender, walked through the bowels of Island Federal Credit Union Arena after Wednesday night’s game where he ran into NJIT’s Damon Lynn. Nyama had spent the better part of 40 minutes trying to chase Lynn all over the court earlier, but could do nothing but flash a big smile afterward while shaking Lynn’s hand.
“They told me to chase you off the three-point line, but man, you’re tough,” Nyama said.
Nyama actually did a good job keeping Lynn from hurting Stony Brook from outside the arc Wednesday, as he hit just a pair three-pointers (both in a 90-second span late in the first half) in 11 attempts. But by night’s end, the final stats showed Lynn with 26 hard-earned points, and NJIT with its seventh win of the season, 64-61.
Picture if you will, a basketball world where you can commit as many fouls as you would like, without fear of disqualification. Basketball is virtually the only sport where that’s the case, after all. Sure, other sports have penalties and violent conduct is sure to see you removed from participation in just about any athletic endeavor.
But a specified number of common fouls having a direct link to a player’s removal for the rest of the contest? Only our beloved hoops.
Now picture Iona senior Jordan Washington in that blissful no-foul out utopia. Washington has been borderline unstoppable for the last two seasons, a matchup quandary (especially for mid-major opponents) at 6’8”, especially when surrounded with the shooters that the Gaels seem to breed. He led the nation in usage last season (involved in 38.5% of Iona possessions), and is fifth this season. Washington also checks in second nationally in points per minute (behind the nation’s leading scorer, Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene at 30.8 ppg) and he is also sixth in number of minutes played … on his own team (20.7 minutes per game)? Continue reading →
After Jim Engles left for Columbia, NJIT decided to invest in continuity. The Highlanders looked at a number of candidates, but eventually gave the job to Engles’ lieutenant Brian Kennedy. Continue reading →
After beating NJIT somewhat handily 80-65 Sunday night in the semifinals of the CIT, Columbia coach Kyle Smith talked about how great the Ivy League has been.
“The league’s good. I was really happy for Yale,” Smith said. “I feel like sometimes it’s like ‘if a tree falls in the forest’ thing because that’s how I feel about the Ivy League. I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs that there’s really good teams and that helps prove that. Princeton got a horrible seeding in the NIT, should not have been on the road, and they almost advanced as it was.”
NEWARK, N.J. – On perhaps the worst night in a couple of seasons – and make no mistake, it was a brutal 82-67 defeat his team suffered at the hands of 10-21 Stetson at the Fleischer Center in the Atlantic Sun quarterfinals – NJIT coach Jim Engles was able to make a reality check.
He was extremely disappointed, sure, but the “never forget where you came from” thing means something to Engles, and it was only a few seasons ago, they were storming the same court after beating Bryant in 2009. Why? Why not? It was their first win in two seasons. And it would be the only one Engles would get in his first season in Newark. The Highlanders that season were perhaps the worst offensive team in recent Division I history, with 0.749 points per possession and a 38.5 eFG% (24.8% from three-point range).
NEWARK, N.J. – Having now been married into the Atlantic Sun family for seven months, it was time for the first of the new cousins to visit NJIT Saturday afternoon. As you’d expect, the Highlanders made their home look as nice as possible. There’s obviously only so much you can do to the Fleisher Center (which is why the new one is slated to open in time for the 2017-18 campaign), but there was a brand new video/media room with comfy chairs and, of course, new banners to recognize NJIT’s semifinal run in the CIT last season as well one for each of its current kin.
Even with the students still on winter break, NJIT brought out a nice crowd Saturday afternoon and even got Atlantic Sun commissioner Ted Gumbart, who played a big part in arranging the shotgun wedding, to come to the house to make sure everything went smoothly.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Jack Montague finished 1-14 from the field, Justin Sears was held to just 13 points, and Brandon Sherrod was limited to just 15 minutes due to foul trouble … and Yale scored 1.30 points per possession is dismantling NJIT 83-65 at Lee Amphitheater Wednesday night.
Be afraid, Ivy League?
Yale is only 8-5, which might even be a tick behind its lofty preseason expectations, but (as Kevin Whitaker pointed out as well), when the Bulldogs find a weakness in an opponent, they are cold-hearted in their exploitation and lack of compassion.
St. Francis Brooklyn’s calling card used to be its defense, but when that fell apart against NJIT the Terriers tried to shoot themselves out of a jam. Unfortunately they came up just short, 92-86, in overtime on Thursday in Brooklyn. Continue reading →