#RV Stevens men’s basketball tops with strong all-around effort and solid defense

JERSEY CITY, NJ –The New Jersey City University men’s basketball team earned their second straight win at the start of the 2022-23 season tonight, Wednesday, November 16. The Gothic Knights hosted Hudson County rival Stevens Institute of Technology to open home play at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (JMAC) on Coach Charlie Brown Court and outplayed the Ducks – receiving votes in the D3hoops.com Preseason Top 25 Poll – by 10 points at 58-48. Jersey City forced 19 turnovers from Stevens and were 16 points off those errors to start.

NJCU (2-1) has seen contributions up and down its roster, led by junior forward Avante Gilbert (Paterson, NJ/International), who led the team with 14 points on effective 5-of-7 shooting and 4-of-4 from the line. Another junior striker in Jacob Valeus (Pleasantville, NJ/Pleasantville) had nine points, while a third junior forward in Ryan Savoy (Lakewood, NJ/Lakewood) had a team-high nine boards, four points, a team-high three steals, and a team-high four blocks in 23 minutes on the floor. The Ducks (0-3) were led by Jack Spellman, as the big man had 10 points, 16 boards and seven blocked shots.

Stevens led by no less than three points early in the first half at 9-6 with 13:49 before the break. From that moment on, the Gothic Knights did not yield an inch more. A 14-2 run to the 8:43 mark put it up nine points, 20-11 at Jersey City, including eight points from the combination of Valeus and Gilbert. The Ducks managed to close the gap to five points after a brief 6-0 run, but NJCU closed the half on an 8-0 run, including a three-pointer from Valeus – the team didn’t made all night long balls – and took a 12-point advantage, 33-21 in the break.

Half number two was more or less the same for the Verts et Or, who eventually extended their lead to a high of 17 in the closing stages of the second to 58-41 with 2:38 remaining. No Gothic Knight scored more than four points in the second half, but nine different players scored at least one point in the 8:00 p.m. final and 11 in total scored at least one point for NJCU on the night overall. Keeping the Ducks grounded, the Knights ultimately won the game with the 10-point, 58-48 victory.

Strong points:
– Jersey City held Stevens to 28.3 percent shooting (17 for 60).
– Also, led by 16 combined points from Valeus and junior forward Pharoh Allah (Rahway, NJ/St. Genevieve, CA)the NJCU bench beat the Ducks bench 29-16.
– Senior guard Jason Battle (Jersey City, NJ/Roselle Catholic) finished his night with six points and five boards after battling fouls throughout.

The Gothic Knights travel to Dallas, Pennsylvania on Saturday, Nov. 19, for their final non-conference tune-up before the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) game. NJCU clashes with Misericordia University in a 1 p.m. whistleblower. Jersey City last played the Cougars on neutral ground on December 30, 2016, and outscored them 87-72.

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