By ANTHONY COVINO
The Knights held on for their second win this week, beating NEC foe St. Francis Brooklyn 60-58 in the Rothman Center Thursday night.
Fairleigh Dickinson improved to 8-11 overall and emerged tied for sixth in the league with a 3-4 record. St. Francis Brooklyn fell to 12-8 overall and remained in second place in the NEC with a 4-3 record. The Knights (2-8 on the road) will look to extend their two-game winning streak at Bryant University on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m..
To win its sixth game at home, FDU had to make a defensive stand in the last minute, holding a 60-58 lead and St. Francis Brooklyn had the ball under its basket. St. Francis’s 5-11 guard Glenn Sarabia missed a three and sophomore Yaradyah Evans got the offensive rebound. He passed the ball out and then sophomore Jalen Jordan took another three and missed. Then, junior Deniz Celen got the offensive rebound, and called timeout. The Knights took a look at SFB’s setup and called a timeout to go over the last play one more time. St. Francis Brooklyn inbounded the ball and Jordan took another three and missed. Senior Darnell Edge secured the rebound and the win for the Knights.
The Knights were able to defeat one of the best teams in the conference, and this win could potentially help them down the road once the NEC Tournament starts. Saint Francis Brooklyn has the second-best scoring defense with opponents only averaging 69.2 points per game. The defense adds to their great play this year since they are capable of limiting their opponents scoring.
“We got heart and soul, and that’s a really good team we beat and we were up, we were rolling,” FDU head coach Greg Herenda said. “We held them to 38 percent (field goals) and 15 percent (three-point line) and we held them to 58 points, and that’s why we won.”
The men started out the game well. They were limiting St. Francis Brooklyn on offense and were able to score on the other end. The Knights shot 51% from the field (25-49) and 30.8% from the three-point line (4-13).
Edge led the Knights with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Sophomore Jahlil Jenkins added 16 points and 6 rebounds and senior Mike Holloway Jr. added 10 points as well.
Junior Rosel Hurley of St. Francis Brooklyn finished with 19 points. Jordan added 16 points while shooting 3-12 from behind the arc, and junior Deniz Celen had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Knights ended the first half with a 36-21 lead and were looking good going into the second half. St. Francis Brooklyn was able to come back and stay in the game, but the Knights were able to stop their offense late in the game and came away with a very important victory.
All the fans were on their feet as the last minute of action played out. The fans cheering on the Knights gave the arena the feeling of hope that they were going to stop SFB’s last chance in the game. When Edge secured the rebound to win the game, the crowd let out a loud cheer as the tension of the last few seconds of the game were finally over. FDU was able to secure a win that will most definitely make all the players feel confident in the direction of the team will be going towards the end of the season and hopefully the NEC Tournament.
Other action from around the NEC on Thursday night:
Central Connecticut (8-12, 2-5) 63
@ Bryant (7-11, 4-3) 60
Sacred Heart (8-12, 4-3) 64
@ Robert Morris (11-9, 6-1) 72
LIU Brooklyn (9-10, 3-4) 72
@ Mt. St. Mary’s (5-15, 2-5) 74
Wagner (9-9, 4-3) 83
@ St. Francis (PA) (7-11, 3-4) 79