Men’s basketball sticks out comeback, Misericordia tops 77-74 for third straight win

DALLAS, Pa. – The New Jersey City University men’s basketball team earned its third straight win today, Saturday, November 19. The Gothic Knights bested another Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) opponent, this time on the road at Misericordia University. NJCU fended off a comeback attempt by the host Cougars late in the second half and held on to the 77-74 win. Junior forward Jacob Valeus (Pleasantville, New Jersey/Pleasantville) had a team-high 16 points that day, including 12 in the second half.

Jersey City (3-1) built an 11-point lead against Misericordia (2-3) midway through the first half before taking a 6-point lead at half-time. Striker senior Kayton Darley (North Bergen, NJ/North Bergen) and jr Avante Gilbert (Paterson, NJ/International) combined for 16 of the team’s 44 points in the first 20 minutes. A total of 10 Gothic Knights scored in the first half. An 8-0 run then began with a three by Sophomore Guard Zaire Jefferson (Newark, NJ/Payne Tech) At 12:15 p.m., NJCU went 28-17 – senior guard Keshon Smith (Queens, NY/Martin Van Buren) pocketed a bucket and a free throw while freshman forward Branden Moore (Teaneck, NJ/Teaneck) also chipped in a bucket.

As previously mentioned, the Cougars brought it back to six to finish the half. Misericordia continued to fight back in the second game, eventually taking a one point lead 51-50 with 14-11 to go. However, the Gothic Knights responded with a quick 8-0 run to get back in front at 59-52 with 12:27 at seven – Valeus had five of the points down that stretch.

Misericordia kept hanging around and hammering until the home side was down 3:20 on the rule by a point, 70-69. Valeus immediately responded with a three to put NJCU back in front for the last time as the team didn’t give up the lead again. Senior Guard Jason Battle (Jersey City, NJ/Roselle Catholic) followed with a threesome of her own at 2:08. The Cougars made one final four-game attempt to make it a one-point game by 75-74 with 53 seconds left, but Battle reinforced in the game’s final moments, pulling a shooting foul and pocketed both foul shots to ice the three-pointer. Points win at 77-74.

– Valeus was 7-of-12 from the floor for his 16 points and had game-high timing of seven boards to walk with two assists and a steal.
– Darley, Battle and Gilbert all earned 10 points. Darley had four boards and four assists, Gilbert had five boards, and Battle led all players with a game high of seven assists.
– Senior striker Yvens Monfleury (Newark, NJ/American History) scored eight points, three assists, two blocks and seven rebounds that kept the game going.
– NJCU had 17 offensive rebounds compared to the Four Cougars and outscored Misericordia 18-5 in second chance points.

Jersey City returns when the roster opens New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play for the season. The Gothic Knights welcome Montclair State University to the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (JMAC) Tuesday night, November 22 in the second half of a women’s/men’s doubleheader with the 8:00 p.m. tipoff on Coach Charlie Brown’s dish.