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College Basketball:
Raptor of the Week: Sydney Francis

Monday, January 22, 2007

By Mike Ballard
RutgersCamden Sports Correspondent

Sydney Francis (Camden, NJ/Woodrow Wilson)

Senior forward Sydney Francis earns his third Raptor of the Week honor this season after helping the men’s basketball team snap an 11-game losing streak with a 65-61 win over Rutgers-Newark Jan. 20. It was the Raptors’ first New Jersey Athletic Conference win since Jan. 28, 2004, snapping a string of 44 straight conference defeats. Against Newark, Francis notched 14 points, two steals and a game-high eight rebounds. Earlier in the week, in a 65-62 overtime loss to The College of New Jersey, he had a game-high 23 points and a team-high eight rebounds. For the week he averaged 18.5 points and eight rebounds. Francis also won Raptor of the Week honors on November 20 and December 4.

MEN’S BASKETBALL (5-12 overall/ 1-5 NJAC)

Wed. 17 The College of New Jersey 65, Rutgers-Camden 62 (OT)
Sat. 20 Rutgers-Camden 65, Rutgers-Newark 61

Upcoming Games
Wed. 24 at Kean University 8 p.m.
Sat. 27 Ramapo College 3 p.m.
Wed. 31 at Richard Stockton College 8 p.m.

Sat. 3 at New Jersey City University 8 p.m.
Mon. 5 at Eastern University 8 p.m.
Wed. 7 Rowan University 8 p.m.
Wed. 14 at The College of New Jersey 8 p.m.
Sat. 17 Kean University 3 p.m.

The Rutgers-Camden men’s basketball is playing its best basketball in ages and the Scarlet Raptors turned in an outstanding week to snap a host of long losing streaks. After barely missing a win in a 65-62 overtime loss to The College of New Jersey (Jan. 17 in Camden), the Raptors edged Rutgers-Newark, 65-61, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference home game Jan. 20.

That win snapped an 11-game losing streak overall and a 44-game losing streak in NJAC play, dating back to a 77-70 win at Montclair State University (Jan. 28, 2004). The Raptors hadn’t won a home game in their last 24 outings, since a 90-85 triumph over Keystone College (Feb. 13, 2004), and they had lost 21 straight home NJAC contests since a 66-65 win over Kean (Jan. 24, 2004).

The Newark game marked the first time Rutgers-Camden’s new Head Coach Brian Wischusen had coached against his former program. Wischusen served as an assistant at Rutgers-Newark during both the 2003-04 and the 2005-06 seasons.

Rutgers-Camden took a 31-29 halftime lead on a layup by sophomore forward Antoine Miller (Camden, NJ/Medical Arts) just before the break. The Raptors, who were coming off a pair of tough NJAC losses at Rowan (70-60, Jan. 10) and the overtime defeat against The College of New Jersey, never trailed the rest of the way.

Rutgers-Camden increased its margin to 45-35 with 14:35 remaining in the game before the Scarlet Raiders mounted a comeback. Newark cut the gap to 62-61 on a three-point play by freshman forward Deshawn Singleton with 1:28 remaining.

The Scarlet Raptors, however, made it a three-point game when senior guard Dane Nicholson (Pleasantville, NJ/Holy Spirit) hit a pair of foul shots with 10 seconds left. Nicholson’s shots made it 64-61. After Rutgers-Newark missed the attempt at a game-tying trey, Nicholson tacked on the final point from the foul line.

The Scarlet Raptors’ win snapped a five-game winning streak in the series by Rutgers-Newark, which now holds a 37-32 edge in the all-time battle. The Raptors hadn’t defeated the Raiders since a 54-51 win in Newark Jan. 25, 2003.

Nicholson’s 15 points paced four Scarlet Raptors in double figures. Freshman guard Joshua Askew (Sicklerville, NJ/Winslow Township) and senior forward Sydney Francis (Camden, NJ/Woodrow Wilson) each notched 14 points, while freshman guard Rory Thornton (Vauxhall, NJ/Union) added 12. Francis also had a game-high eight rebounds for Rutgers-Camden, which was out-rebounded, 40-34.

Miller had a strong game for the Raptors with seven points, six rebounds, two steals and a game-high five assists.

Sophomore guard Chadd Barnes scored a game-high 23 points for the Raiders, while sophomore guard David Cherry added 10. Cherry and Singleton each had seven boards for Rutgers-Newark.

Against TCNJ, junior center Mark Aziz scored on a short baseline jumper with 22 seconds left in overtime and senior guard Brian Halligan blocked a potential game-winning shot in the last seconds as the Lions posted a 65-62 NJAC win.

It was the Lions’ ninth straight win against the Scarlet Raptors and their 39th win in the last 40 games against Rutgers-Camden. TCNJ owns a 51-9 lead in the all-time series, but this one didn’t come easily.

With 19 seconds remaining in regulation, the Scarlet Raptors tied the game at 56-56 on a layup by Nicholson.

Nicholson scored on a jumper to start the overtime session, and Rutgers-Camden broke to a 59-56 lead following a foul shot by Askew.

The Lions bounced back and took a 61-60 lead on a three-pointer by Halligan, but a pair of foul shots by Francis put the Raptors ahead, 62-61, with 45.6 seconds left.

Aziz, who finished with a team-high 18 points, made his winning basket from the baseline with 22 seconds remaining. The Raptors’ last-ditch effort to regain the lead was thwarted when Halligan blocked a three-point attempt by Thornton and Lions junior guard Drew Rosenfeld grabbed the rebound. Rosenfeld was fouled with 0.4 seconds remaining and sank a pair of free throws for the final margin.

With the first-half score tied at 21-21, TCNJ ran off nine straight points, sparked by a steal and a layup from sophomore guard Nick Nelson. Nelson had four points in the run for the Lions, which helped spark TCNJ to a 32-26 first-half lead.

Aziz had 10 points and eight rebounds in the first half for the Lions, while Francis had 11 first-half points for the Raptors.

Rutgers-Camden rallied back in the second half, cutting the deficit to one point on three occasions (46-45, 48-47 and 50-49) before sending the game to overtime at 56-56 on Nicholson’s basket.

In addition to 18 points from Aziz, the Lions received 15 from Halligan, 12 from junior guard Corey Gilmore and 11 from freshman guard William Jett. Aziz also had a game-high 12 rebounds.

For Rutgers-Camden, Francis had a game-high 23 points, while Askew added nine. Francis also led the Raptors with eight rebounds.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL (6-10 overall//1-5 NJAC)

Wed. 17 The College of New Jersey 70, Rutgers-Camden 49
Sat. 20 Rutgers-Newark 70, Rutgers-Camden 66

Upcoming Games

Wed. 17 The College of New Jersey 6 p.m.
Sat. 20 Rutgers-Newark 1 p.m.
Wed. 24 at Kean University 6 p.m.
Sat. 27 Ramapo College 1 p.m.
Mon. 29 Brooklyn College 7 p.m.
Wed. 31 at Richard Stockton College 6 p.m.

Sat. 3 at New Jersey City University 6 p.m.
Wed. 7 Rowan University 6 p.m.
Mon. 12 at Gwynedd-Mercy College 7 p.m.
Wed. 14 at The College of New Jersey 6 p.m.
Sat. 17 Kean University 1 p.m.

The Rutgers-Camden women’s basketball team dropped a pair of New Jersey Athletic Conference home games during the week, falling to The College of New Jersey, 70-49, Jan. 17, and dropping a 70-66 decision against Rutgers-Newark Jan. 20.

Junior guard Sabrina Sanchez scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to spark Rutgers-Newark over Rutgers-Camden. Newark has won the last five games in the all-time series to grab a 25-24 lead.

At halftime, Rutgers-Camden held a 30-28 lead behind 11 points from senior forward Karen Carter (Pennsauken, NJ/Pennsauken) and 10 from junior guard Imani Hafiz (Franklinville, NJ/Delsea Regional).

Sanchez had eight points in the opening 20 minutes for Newark, but turned in a phenomenal second half to power the Scarlet Raiders’ comeback. With the teams tied at 41-41, Sanchez nailed a three-pointer with 12:51 remaining to lift Rutgers-Newark ahead to stay, 44-41. The Raiders opened up leads as large as eight points down the stretch, with the final being 68-60 with 1:23 remaining.

Rutgers-Camden quickly sliced the gap to 68-66 on back-to-back treys by junior guard Jennifer Williams (Ocean City, NJ/Ocean City) and sophomore forward Crystal Pezzano (Brockton, MA/Brockton). The Scarlet Raiders closed out the game with a pair of foul shots by sophomore guard Youngor Kehleay with 21 seconds remaining.

In addition to 22 points by Sanchez, junior forward Eni Fageyinbo scored 13 points and junior forward Stephanie Ross added 10 for Newark. Fageyinbo added seven rebounds to help the Raiders hold a 38-23 advantage off the boards.

For Rutgers-Camden, Hafiz scored 20 points, junior guard Carmen Oyola (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) notched 15 and Carter added 13. Carter paced the Raptors with seven rebounds, while Hafiz had a game-high seven steals.

Rutgers-Newark shot 50 percent (24-for-48) from the floor and 83.3 percent (15-for-18) from the foul line. Rutgers-Camden went 22-for-52 (42.3 percent) from the floor and 19-for-27 (70.4 percent) from the line.

In the loss to TCNJ, sophomore center Hillary Klimowicz scored 12 points and sophomore guard Alyssa Michella added 10 to lead a balanced attack for the Lions.

TCNJ broke to a 5-0 lead and never trailed. The Lions led, 15-6, six minutes into the game behind six points and three rebounds from Klimowicz. By halftime, TCNJ held a commanding 37-20 lead, with Klimowicz and Michella scoring eight points apiece, while freshman center Alexandra Gregorek had six. Junior guard Sara Best had five first-half rebounds for the Lions, who held a 26-21 advantage off the boards in the opening half. Best also added five first-half assists.

For Rutgers-Camden, Carter had 13 of her team’s 20 halftime points.

The Lions scored the first eight points of the second half to put the game out of reach. They ended up with a 46-43 edge off the glass, led by seven rebounds from Best, who also notched a game-high seven assists. Michella had six rebounds for TCNJ.

The Lions shot 31-for-68 from the floor (45.6 percent), while the Lady Raptors were 18-for-69 (26.1).

Carter paced the Raptors with a game-high 17 points, while junior guard Krystal Jankowski (Somerdale, NJ/Sterling) had a game-high 12 rebounds. Hafiz notched 15 points to raise her career total over 500 to 511.

Carter had a game-high four steals for the Raptors, while Hafiz added three.


Fri. 19 Collegeville Indoor Classic
(at Ursinus College)

Men: 1. Cheyney University, 138.50; 2. Kutztown University, 77; 3. Millersville University, 61; 4. The College of New Jersey, 57; 5. St. Joseph’s University, 54; 6. Haverford College, 53; 7. Ursinus College, 42; 8. Rutgers-Camden, 25; 9. (tie) Keystone College and Rowan University, 19; 11. Frostburg University, 14; 12. Kean University, 13.

Women: 1. St. Joseph’s University, 131.50; 2. Kutztown University, 126.50; 3. The College of New Jersey, 76; 4. Millersville University, 61; 5. Haverford College, 51; 6. Cabrini College, 32; 7. Ursinus College, 19; 8. Frostburg University, 15; 9. Cheyney University, 11; 10. Albright College, 10; 11. Rowan University, 7; 12. Keystone College, 5; 13. Holy Family University, 1. Did not score: Rutgers-Camden

Rutgers-Camden School Records:
* 200 M, Patrick Eigbe, 24.86 (Old: Eigbe, 24.89, Feb. 19, 2006 at NJAC Indoor Championships)
* 400 M, Stefon Coleman, 54.12 (Old: Darryl Mendillo, 54.49, Feb. 19, 2006 at NJAC Indoor Championships)
* 1 Mile, Mike Fox, 4:29.76 (Old: Jonathan Salamon, 4:33.90, Feb. 4, 2006 at Frank Colden Invitational)
* 1,000 M, Jonathan Salamon, 2:41.31 (first time competing in event)
* 5,000 M, Travis Stewart, 16:02.02 (Old: Stewart, 17:15.1, Jan. 28, 2006 at Lebanon Valley College Invitational)
* Shot Put (Men), Mark Smith, 40-5.04 (first time competing in event)
* Shot Put (Women), Becca Taylor, 27-10.65 (first time competing in event)

Upcoming Meets

Sat. 27 at Lebanon Valley College Indoor Meet (Lebanon Valley College) 10 a.m.

Sat. 3 at Frank Colden Invitational (Ursinus College) 10 a.m.
Mon. 19 at NJAC Championships (John Bennett Indoor Athletic Center, Toms River) 4 p.m.

Fri. 2-
Sat. 3 at ECAC Championships @ Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)
Fri. 9-
Sat. 10 at NCAA Championships @ Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, IN)

The Rutgers University-Camden indoor track team broke four school records and set three more marks in first-time events as it competed in the Collegeville Indoor Classic here Friday at Ursinus College Jan. 19.

The Scarlet Raptor men finished eighth out of 12 teams with 25 points. The Lady Raptors, whose only competitor was freshman Becca Taylor (Haddon Heights, NJ/Haddon Heights), were not among the 13 women’s teams to score points.

The men’s team saw sophomores Stefon Coleman (Penns Grove, NJ/Penns Grove) break a mark at 400 meters, Patrick Eigbe (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) set a new mark at 200 meters and Travis Stewart (Runnemede, NJ/Triton Regional) re-write the mark at 5,000 meters, while junior Mike Fox (Hainesport, NJ/Rancocas Valley) set a new standard in the mile run.

The Raptors also competed in three indoor events for the first time, with Taylor and freshman Mark Smith (Vineland, NJ/Vineland) establishing school marks in the shot put and sophomore Jonathan Salamon (Bridgewater, NJ/St. Joseph-Metuchen) setting the standard at 1,000 meters. Salamon finished third in a time of 2:41.31 to earn the men’s team six points. Smith earned one point with an eight-place finish in the shot put with a distance of 40-5.04, while Taylor finished 11th with her shot put of 27-10.65.

Stewart finished second in the 5,000 meters (16:02.02) to break his old mark of 17:15.1, set Jan. 28, 2006 at the Lebanon Valley College Invitational. Eigbe broke his old mark of 24.89 from the NJAC Indoor Championships (Feb. 19, 2006) as he placed 25th at 200 meters.

Coleman was 15th at 400 meters in a time of 54.12, breaking the mark of 54.49 by Darryl Mendillo, also set at last season’s NJAC Championships. Fox finished sixth in the mile run in a time of 4:29.76, breaking the mark set last season of 4:33.90 by Salamon at the Frank Colden Invitational (Feb. 4).

In addition to eight points from Stewart, six from Salamon, three from Fox and one by Smith, the Raptors’ sophomore G. Brandon Gordon (Haddon Township, NJ/Haddon Township) produced two points with a seventh-place finish at 5,000 meters. He posted a 17:04.83 time.

Rutgers-Camden also saw freshmen Frank Iwanicki (Edgewater Park, NJ/Holy Cross) and Akeem Lloyd (Atlantic City, NJ/Atlantic City) finish 10th and 12th, respectively, at 800 meters. Iwanicki posted a 2:03.83 clocking, while Lloyd ran a 2:04.09.

Sophomore Michael McClain (Sewell, NJ/Bishop Eustace Prep) added an 18th-place finish with a long jump of 17-2.69.

As a team, the Raptors’ 4x400 relay of Salamon, Lloyd, Coleman and Iwanicki finished fourth with a 3:35.39 clocking to earn five points.

Cheyney University (138.50) won the men’s competition, while St. Joseph’s University (131.50) won the women’s meet.

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