Monday, February 5, 2005
By Mike Ballard
RAPTOR OF THE WEEK
Junior center Megan Rulon passed a couple of career milestones during the week for the Rutgers-Camden women’s basketball team while scoring 41 points (13.7 ppg) and collecting 20 rebounds (6.7 rpg) and 11 blocked shots (3.7 bpg) in three games. Rulon went over 800 points for her career, lifting her total to 837, and also became the second player ever to reach 200 blocked shots in program history. Rulon, who leads all Division III players nationally in blocked shots (4.6 bpg) has 205 for her career, second in program history to Kamilah Byrd’s 291. It was the second Raptor of the Week honor this season for Rulon, who also captured the award Nov. 22.
The Scarlet Raptors saved their best game for the final contest of a three-game week, but it wasn’t quite enough against New Jersey Athletic Conference foe Montclair State University.
The Red Hawks went on a 9-0 run to open the second half, erasing a three-point halftime deficit, on their way to a 77-69 victory over Rutgers-Camden Feb. 5 in Camden. It was the third NJAC loss of the week for the Raptors, who dropped road games at Rutgers-Newark (95-50 Jan. 31) and at The College of New Jersey (92-45 Feb. 2). Rutgers-Camden has lost 10 straight games, its longest losing streak since the opening 10 games of the 1999-2000 season.
After Rutgers-Camden took a 36-33 halftime lead, Montclair State came out on a 9-0 run, taking the lead for good on a jumper by junior forward Quentin Demeritte to make it a 37-36 game. The Red Hawks stretched their lead to as many as 16 points (69-53) before the Scarlet Raptors cut the gap to single digits.
Rutgers-Camden closed to within 74-67 with 46 seconds remaining on a foul shot by senior guard Tyrone Rucker (Pennsauken, NJ/Pennsauken) before the Red Hawks closed out the scoring from the foul line.
Montclair State has won 25 of the last 26 games against Rutgers-Camden, including an 83-49 victory in Montclair Jan. 8. The Red Hawks lead the all-time series, 35-8.
Montclair State junior forward Gian Paul Gonzalez collected a double-double with game-high totals of 23 points and 17 rebounds. He had 19 points and 12 rebounds in the second half.
Senior forward Michael Gluck notched 21 points for the Red Hawks, while junior guard Jamal Ford had 11 points and game-high totals of four assists and four steals. Teammate Cliff Schafer, a sophomore forward, added 10 points.
The Red Hawks out-rebounded the Scarlet Raptors, 42-33, and shot 49.0 percent (24-for-49) from the floor. They also went 21-for-29 (72.4 percent) from the foul line, led by an 8-for-10 performance by Ford.
Rutgers-Camden received 21 points and 11 rebounds from sophomore guard/forward Dane Nicholson (Pleasantville, NJ/Holy Spirit). Rucker added 15 points and freshman guard Kenny Yu (Queens, NY/Townsend Harris) notched 12.
In their second game of the week, the Raptors lost at The College of New Jersey as junior forward Scott Findlay collected his ninth double-double of the season with 19 points and 15 rebounds. TCNJ, which has won two straight games and 25 of the last 26 against Rutgers-Camden, leads the all-time series, 35-8.
The Lions raced to an early 30-3 lead on their way to a 49-26 halftime lead. They shot 50.7 percent from the floor (38-for-75), while the Raptors shot only 28.4 percent (19-for-67), including 23.3 percent from three-point range (7-for-30). TCNJ also out-rebounded Rutgers-Camden, 56-28.
Findlay, who shot 9-for-10 from the floor, was one of five players to finish in double figures for the Lions. Senior guard Mike Snyder added 15 points for TCNJ, while both senior guard Kyle Burke and freshman Mark Aziz added 14 points apiece. For Aziz, the 14 points was a career-high effort. TCNJ’s senior forward Derick Grant added 13 points as well as four assists and three steals.
The Scarlet Raptors received a game-high 20 points from Rucker, helping him crack the 800-point plateau for his career. He has 806 points in 78 career games for a 10.3 average.
Junior forward Josh Kennedy (Westmont, NJ/Haddon Township) chipped in 10 points off the bench for the Raptors.
In their opening game of the week, Rutgers-Camden saw former Raptor Chinedu Ibeh collect 21 points, 12 rebounds, seven blocked shots, three steals and two assists in 25 minutes of playing time to spark Rutgers-Newark to a 95-50 victory in Newark.
Ibeh, who played his freshman year at Rutgers-Camden before transferring to Rutgers-Newark as a sophomore, led six Scarlet Raiders in double figures. He helped the Scarlet Raiders race to a 51-22 halftime lead as he had 14 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots in the opening half.
Sophomore forward Jermont Horton added 19 points for the Scarlet Raiders, while senior guard Rasheen Blackwell canned 12. Rutgers-Newark also received 11 points and five assists from sophomore guard Phil Slater, and 10 points apiece from senior guard Manny Rios and sophomore forward Miguel Alves.
Rutgers-Newark shot 54.2 percent from the floor (32-for-59), including 43.8 percent from three-point range (7-for-16). Rutgers-Camden went 31.4 percent from the floor (16-for-51) and 20.0 percent from three-point range (3-for-15). Rutgers-Newark also dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Scarlet Raptors, 46-28.
Rutgers-Camden received 15 points from Nicholson, while Kennedy collected 12 points, team-high totals of two blocked shots and eight rebounds, and tied for game-high honors with three steals. He also added one assist.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL (6-16/1-12)
The Lady Raptors dropped three NJAC games during the week as the lost at Rutgers-Newark (52-49 Jan. 31), at The College of New Jersey (80-43 Feb. 2) and a home game against Montclair State University (76-47 Feb. 5). The three losses stretched their losing streak to eight games, their longest losing streak since 10 straight games during the 1997-98 season.
Freshman guard Cynthia Warrington scored 13 points, including 11 in the first half when Montclair State took the lead for good, to lead five players in double figures.
Montclair State has won the last four games against the Lady Raptors and holds a 24-15 lead in the all-time series.
Montclair State built a 43-27 lead after trailing in the early going, 7-3. The Red Hawks tied the game and took the lead for good, at 10-7, on back-to-back three-pointers by freshman guard Jessica Horan.
In addition to Warrington’s 11 first-half points, the Red Hawks also received 10 from junior forward Amanda Mullaney in the opening half.
The Lady Raptors received eight first-half points from junior center Megan Rulon (Sewell, NJ/Clearview Regional).
Montclair State, which defeated the Lady Raptors, 62-44, on its home court Nov. 29, finished with 11 points from Horan in addition to Warrington’s 13. Mullaney, sophomore forward Stephanie Machin and junior guard Shikeena Lynard each added 10 points for the Red Hawks.
Montclair State, which out-rebounded Rutgers-Camden, 39-32, received seven rebounds from Mullaney, who tied for game-high honors with the Lady Raptors’ junior forward Carmen Zimmitt (Woodstown, NJ/Woodstown).
Montclair State’s Horan and freshman forward Jennifer Russell had five assists apiece to tie for game-high honors.
For Rutgers-Camden, Rulon had 12 points and four blocked shots, while freshman guard Krystal Jankowski (Somerdale, NJ/Sterling) added 10 points.
Montclair State shot 50.8 percent from the floor (32-for-63), while Rutgers-Camden went 15-for-48 (31.3 percent).
Earlier in the week, The College of New Jersey posted an 80-43 win over Rutgers-Camden in Ewing as junior guard Alexa Shields collected 15 points and sophomore guard/forward Megan Hueter added 13.
Shields shot 6-for-8 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, for the Lions, who shot 30-for-59 (50.8 percent) as a team. TCNJ hit 12 of 20 shots from three-point range. Hueter, meanwhile, went 5-for-7 from the floor, including 3-for-5 on treys, as she tied her career scoring high.
In addition to Shields and Hueter, the Lions received 11 points from senior tri-captain Theresa DiMedio and 10 points from junior forward Erin Frank. DiMedio and junior guard Tiara Simpkins tied for game-high honors with six assists.
Although the Raptors out-rebounded the Lions, 42-34, they also made 27 turnovers compared to TCNJ’s 14.
The Lions, who never trailed in the game, raced to a 40-18 first-half lead as Shields and Simpkins each scored seven points in the opening 20 minutes.
For the Lady Raptors, Zimmitt had a game-high 16 points, while Rulon registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. She also added two blocks, giving her 201 for her career and making her only the second player in program history to notch 200 career blocks. The program’s career leader in blocked shots is Kamilah Byrd (1993-97), with 291.
In their first game of the week, the Lady Raptors made a pair of valiant second-half comebacks, but their rallies fell short as they lost at Rutgers-Newark, 52-49, in NJAC action Jan. 31. The Scarlet Raiders, who held a 30-18 halftime lead before the Raptors rallied, received 15 points from freshman guard Nerlande Nicolas. Freshman forward Eni Fageyinbo had 10 of her 14 points in the second half to stave off the Lady Raptors’ comeback bid.
After Rutgers-Newark had opened up a 36-22 lead early in the second half, Rutgers-Camden came roaring back to take the lead with a 15-0 run. Rulon scored seven of her 14 points during that run, which gave Rutgers-Camden a 37-36 lead with 10:50 remaining. The run was capped by a layup from Zimmitt.
As quickly as the Raptors regained the lead, the Raiders answered. Fageyinbo had seven points over the next 6:40 as Rutgers-Newark went on a 13-2 run to grab a 49-39 lead.
Rutgers-Camden bounced back with an 8-0 run to cut the Raider lead to 49-47, sparked by five points (a three-pointer and a short jumper) from sophomore guard Kelly Stafford (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester). Jankowski capped the run with a foul shot, making it a two-point game with 2:03 remaining.
Rutgers-Newark tacked on a layup by junior center Christyal Anderson with 1:01 remaining to grab a 51-47 lead, but Jankowski scored 12 seconds later to slice the margin to two points.
Fageyinbo made a foul shot with 20 seconds remaining for the final point.
In addition to Nicolas and Fageyinbo, Rutgers-Newark received 10 points from freshman guard Sabrina Sanchez. The Scarlet Raiders held a 43-34 advantage off the boards as sophomore forward Trina Whitehead grabbed 13 rebounds and Anderson added 12. Fageyinbo had a game-high six assists.
In addition to 15 points by Jankowski and 14 by Rulon, the Lady Raptors also received eight points and a game-high and career-high four steals from Stafford. Rulon, Jankowski and junior forward Sarah Thorpe (Millville, NJ/Cumberland Regional) each had seven rebounds for the Raptors.
Rulon added a game-high five blocked shots.