Saturday, December 9, 2006
By Mike Ballard
CAMDEN It took a while for the William Paterson University men’s basketball team to hit its stride in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game here Saturday, but when the Pioneers started clicking, they fully resembled a nationally-ranked team.
Paterson, ranked No. 12 in the latest d3hoops.com Top 25, overcame an early seven-point deficit, aided by a blistering 29-1 first-half run, and went on to defeat Rutgers University-Camden, 82-35.
Its fourth straight win lifts Paterson to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in the NJAC.
Rutgers-Camden falls to 4-3 overall and 0-2 in the NJAC with its second straight loss.
William Paterson has won nine straight games and 36 of the last 37 against Rutgers-Camden. The Scarlet Raptors’ lone win in that span was a 69-68 victory in Camden Feb. 6, 2002. The Pioneers now hold a 44-5 lead in the all-time series.
Rutgers-Camden built an early 7-0 lead and held an 11-5 margin with 12:29 left in the first half following a foul shot by senior forward Sydney Francis (Camden, NJ/Woodrow Wilson).
The Scarlet Raptors didn’t score again for 10:03, during which time the Pioneers rattled off 25 consecutive points to take a commanding 30-11 lead. After Rutgers-Camden broke the drought on a foul shot by sophomore forward Antoine Miller (Camden, NJ/Medical Arts), Paterson finished out the half with a 10-3 run to take a 40-15 halftime lead.
The Pioneers’ full-court press forced the Raptors into 22 first-half turnovers and 36 for the game. Paterson shot 53.7 percent from the field (29-for-54), while Rutgers-Camden shot 10-for-38 (26.3).
William Paterson placed three players in double figures in the scoring column, led by junior guard Joey Spiegel (Teaneck, NJ/Teaneck), who canned 13. Freshman guard Joseph Ellis (Newark, NJ/Science) scored 11, while senior forward Luis Martinez (Passaic, NJ/Clifton) added 10.
Paterson also held a 36-27 advantage off the boards, with senior forward John Rother (Sodus Point, NY/Sodus Central) grabbing a game-high seven rebounds.
Rutgers-Camden received eight points from Francis, while sophomore guard Wayne Smalls (Camden, NJ/Medical Arts) added seven. Miller paced the team with five rebounds.
Senior guard Dane Nicholson (Pleasantville, NJ/Holy Spirit) had a game-high five steals, giving him 133 career steals and moving him past Don Polk (1989-1992) for third on the Rutgers-Camden career list. Polk had 129 career steals. Nicholson added six points to give him 896 for his career.
Rutgers-Camden hosts Baptist Bible College in a 6 p.m. non-conference game Tuesday.
William Paterson returns to action Wednesday with a non-conference 7 p.m. game at FDU-Florham.