By MARK LINDSLEY
(HACKENSACK) – On a night that began with Darian Anderson being honored before the game while fans held up #2 signs, the Knights started off flat offensively.
They didn’t score their first point against St. Francis Brooklyn until five minutes into last Thursday night’s men’s basketball game, and didn’t make their first field goal until eight minutes into the game, eventually falling 76-70.
The Knights started off with some strong defensive play, which is why they only trailed 11-7 after they scored that first field goal. Both teams went on a few runs in the game, but the Knights were never able to climb out of the opening hole that they dug for themselves and trailed from the first basket to the final buzzer.
Even though St. Francis Brooklyn only won by six, they had a 15-point lead in the first half and a 16-point lead in the second half. Their starting guard, Rasheem Dunn, was a clear standout with 18 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals, leading his team in all four categories.
The Knights’ starters put up some good numbers of their own with Darnell Edge, Jahlil Jenkins, Mike Holloway Jr. and Kaleb Bishop all scoring in double- digits. Those four players accounted for 62 of the Knights’ 70 points, and their bench was outscored by the Terrier’s bench 37-4, which was one of the key factors that contributed to the loss.
Jenkins and Holloway Jr. rocked the home crowd at the end of the first half when Jenkins grabbed a defensive rebound and launched a pass from half court to Holloway Jr., who caught the pass and shot the ball in one motion, right as the halftime buzzer sounded. He missed the shot, but was fouled on the play and, after a review, the referees determined that he would shoot two free throws with two-tenths of a second on the clock.
After Holloway Jr. made both free throws to cut the lead to seven (37-30) and then started the second half by making a layup that cut the lead to five (37-32), it looked like the Knights had all of the momentum. Then the Terriers took matters into their own hands and went on a 19-8 run over the next four and half minutes, giving them a 16-point lead (56-40). The teams then exchanged baskets until the score was 64-51 with nine and a half minutes left. The Knights made one last push with a 14-4 run, cutting the lead to three points (68-65), which was as close as they got in the second half.
Holloway Jr. was the unsung hero of the 14-4 run even though he didn’t score any of the 14 points. He had a block, an assist on a 3-point shot, two rebounds, and set two screens that led directly to baskets.
Bishop got the fans excited with a sweet tip in toward the end of the run as well as an athletic put-back dunk. The Knights last two points of the run came from his jumper, which was the loudest moment of the night.
The Knights rebounded from the St. Francis loss, playing a complete game two days later, which resulted in a convincing 89-78 win against the Bryant University Bulldogs. Although the team’s record is 7-14, five of their seven wins have come at home, where they have a winning record, and they are looking for as much fan support as possible on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. against Sacred Heart.