ANNVILLE, Pa. – The New Jersey City University men’s basketball team opened play for the 2022-23 season in the first round of the Rinso Marquette Invitational hosted by Lebanon Valley College tonight, Friday, November 11. The Gothic Knights led by up to five points towards the middle of the second half, but unfortunately fell to Neumann University with a final score of 66:64. NJCU meets Delaware Valley University in the consolation game tomorrow afternoon, Saturday, November 12 at 1:00 p.m.
Returning starters and senior co-captains point guard Jason Battle (Jersey City, NJ/Roselle Catholic) and further Kayton Darley (North Bergen, NJ/North Bergen) Everyone got the nod in the first game for Jersey City (0-1), along with the senior guard Keshon Smith (Queens, NY/Martin Van Buren)Junior Forward Avante Gilbert (Paterson, NJ/International) and senior striker Yvens Monfleury (Newark, NJ/American History). Darley posted a team high, scoring 15 points against Neumann (1–1) while he was a junior forward Jacob Valeus (Pleasantville, New Jersey/Pleasantville) came off the bench for 21 minutes in his NCAA debut and also lost 15 points for the Gothic Knights.
Things started well for NJCU in the early days as the roster started with a 7-3 run to force a Knights timeout. However, Neumann came out of the break and took control of the close fight, leading by as many as seven points several times in the first half, including as recently as 5:08, with the score staying at 28:21 in favor of the Knights. Jersey City was able to reduce that lead to one at 34-33 with less than a minute left at half-time, but a late insert from Neumann brought NJCU back by three after 20 minutes of play. Darley had a team-high nine points in the first half as he was 3-of-4 from distance, while Valeus was a perfect 4-of-4 from the ground and also had nine points.
The first seven minutes of the second half belonged to green and gold as the side doubled Neumann with a 16-8 run that ended with a Darley three at 13:20 to put NJCU by five ahead 49-44. However, a 14-2 run in reply put the momentum back to the Knights, who now led 58-51 and 6:51 with seven points, and then faced off 60-53 with 5:45 left. A quick 8-3 run by Jersey City, including four points from Smith, cut the deficit to two points at 63-61 with just 42 seconds remaining. Neumann lost a three with 18 seconds left to go up by five and NJCU unfortunately couldn’t respond, although Smith hit a three on the buzzer to make it a two-point game at 66-64, which was the final was.
As previously mentioned, the Gothic Knights return in Annville vs. Delaware Valley for a tip Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.