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Men’s Tennis Drops Close Match at NYIT

The NJIT men’s tennis team dropped a close match at NYIT, 4-3, Sunday afternoon at Sportime Bethpage Tennis Center.

NYIT edged visiting NJIT Sunday taking two out of three doubles contests to earn the doubles point and split the singles contests with the Highlanders, as the Bears came out on top 4-3.

The Bears, ranked No. 2 in the Division II Men’s East Regional ranking by the ITA (as of February 19, 2014) improves to 7-0 on the season while the Highlanders drop to 6-2 on the season.

Highlander duo Holger Norregaard and Markus Schultz were 8-2 winners at second doubles over NYIT’s Matej Selecky and Rafal Charkiewicz.

Schultz, a sophomore from Hagersten, Sweeden, won his eighth match at first singles in a three-set tilt over NYIT’s Julio Pulido, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3.

Classmate Andres Alban won in straight sets at third singles, 6-4, 7-5 defeating Charkiewicz while Erik Artursson battled out a three-set tilt at fourth singles coming out on top, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 over Jaime Salvador.

NJIT will return to action on February 28 when the Highlanders host Buffalo at 4pm in The Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility.

Men’s Basketball

NJIT Soars Above Falcons

Terrence Smith made nine of his 10 shots en route to a game-high 19 points in just 13 minutes of play, leading five double-figure scorers for NJIT in a 99-67 men’s basketball win over visiting Fisher Saturday afternoon in the Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center.

Smith, a sophomore who came in ranked fifth in Division I with a field goal percentage of 61.5, was an impossible guard for Fisher near the basket. But the Falcons are not alone on that count. With his 9-for-10 on Saturday, Smith is 44-for-54 (81.5 percent) over the last seven games, raising his season’s number to 62.7 percent from the floor.

The other double figure-scoring NJIT starter was Damon Lynn (11 points). The rookie did not have one of his better shooting games, especially compared to 7-for-11 on 3-pointers in a 77-76 win at Maryland Eastern Shore earlier in the week. Still, he moved into elite company in the history of Division I basketball, which is in its 28th season since making the 3-point basket a part of the playing rules.

Lynn made three 3-pointers against Fisher, raising his season’s total in that category to 105. In doing so, he moved to fifth on the NCAA’s all-time list of Division I Freshman 3-point marksmen.

The all-time leader in the department is current NBA All-Star Stephen Curry, who made 122 3-pointers as a freshman at Davidson in 2006-07. Tajuan Porter (Oregon, 2006-07), is second with 110, followed by Keydren Clark (Saint Peter’s, 2002-03; 109), Keith Veney (Lamar, 1992-93: 106), and then Lynn, who has one game left in his rookie year as a Highlander.

Joining Smith and Lynn in double-figures were three freshmen who played as subs for the Highlanders on Saturday. They were: Jake Duncan (15 points) and Tim Coleman and Montana Mayfield, both with 13 points. In total, the winners’ bench players generated 54 points.

Coleman filled more than the scoring column on the box score, getting a double-double with 14 rebounds to go with his 13 points and adding 5 assists and 6 blocked shots. As a team, the Highlanders notched 12 blocks, as Daquan Holiday rejected four behind the six for Coleman.

The win, NJIT’s fourth straight, matched a season-best for the Highlanders, when they took four in a row from November 15 to 23. NJIT is 13-15 overall with one game remaining on the 2013-14 schedule and the Highlanders are 7-5 at home, clinching their fifth straight winning record on Fleisher Family Court under sixth-year coach Jim Engles.

Fisher, which competes as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and had won its previous two games, completes its regular season with a 13-17 record. The defeat was the second this season for the Falcons against an NCAA Division I team, as they also fell at Maine, 111-64, back on November 10.

An independent as the only NAIA member in the New England region, Fisher has earned one of four berths in the NAIA’s Association of Independent Institutions tournament on February 28 and March 1. The winner of that tournament will receive an automatic spot in the NAIA Division II national tournament.

Fisher, which never led, trailed at halftime by 35 points and went down by 42, 77-35, less than three minutes into the second half. To their great credit, the Falcons did not give up and got their deficit down to 23 late in the half before eventually losing, 99-67.

Freshman Kyle Holmes came off the bench to lead Fisher’s scorers with 14 points. OJ Moore added 13 points and 5 assists for the Falcons, while starters Chris Green, Tyler Shular, and Earnest McNeil all scored 10 points. McNeill, a junior swingman, made four steals for the visitors, with Shuler leading his team in rebounds (7) and adding three steals.

NJIT, led by Coleman’s 14 rebounds, had a team advantage on the boards of 41-31.

The Highlanders put up gaudy numbers in some of the other statistics. Along with the previously mentioned 12 blocks, NJIT got assists on 26 of its 39 points while shooting 57.4 percent (39-68) on shots from the floor, including 12-for-27 on threes that began with a 10-for-17 first half. Lynn had a game-high 6 assists without a turnover and Coleman and Ky Howard each added 5 assists for NJIT.

Although the turnovers were close (18 for Fisher and 17 for the Highlanders), the home team exacted a much higher price for the miscues, as NJIT won the points-off-turnovers, 33-13.

The offensive rebounding was close (16-14, NJIT), but the Highlanders turned those second chances into 22 points to just six for Fisher.

Non-Division I foes seem to have difficulty with the faster pace of the game when they face NJIT and even thought Falcon coach David Lindberg likes to play up-tempo, his team was beaten on fast break points, 22-8.

The first half, which ended with NJIT on top 66-31, was even more pronounced with the Highlanders leading 24-2 on points-off-turnovers, 16-4 on second-chance points, and 11-2 on the fast break.

Duncan, who shot 6-for-7 in the first half, including a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown, led all scorers at the break with 15, while Smith and Lynn each had 11. Moore topped the Falcons with 12 points, playing 14 minutes off the bench in the opening frame.

Lynn hit a 3-pointer off the opening tip and NJIT went up 8-2 after Winfield Willis nailed a three and Lynn made a steal and basket 1:33 into the game.

Duncan’s triple 5:34 in gave the Highlanders their first double-digit lead, 17-7, and the advantage went to 20, 37-17, on Smith’s tip-in at the 7:36 mark. And the 30-point barricade was first breached when a Lynn three made it 50-19 with 4:01 left in the first half.

The biggest gap of the half was 36, at 62-26 on another Duncan 3-point shot with 2:18 left in the opening 20 minutes.

Smith and Fisher center Orlando Zayas (6 points) each traded a pair of baskets in the opening 75 seconds of the second half. But Ky Howard (7 points) made a fast-break layup followed by a Willis 3-pointer for the first of three 42-point bulges for NJIT in the second half.

The latest came at the 14:34 mark, when Holiday (4-for-5 in the game and 15-for-19—78.9 percent–as Smith’s primary backup over the last six contests) made a layup for an 83-41 NJIT lead.

Fisher, which ultimately outscored NJIT over the final 20 minutes by a 36-33 count, used a 14-2 spurt from 13:22 to 9:14 to trim the deficit down to 85-55. Chris Green, who spent a high school postgrad year in Newark at NIA Prep, made two 3-pointers and Shular added five points on a three and a lay-up to help power the spurt. Green was game-high scorer in the second half, netting 10 points in 11 minutes.

Mayfield, who would finish the day with 4-for-4 shooting, interrupted the Fisher rally with one of his three triples. But the Falcons responded with five more unanswered buckets in just under four minutes, bringing the NJIT lead, which was 42 as late as 14:34, down to 23 at 88-65 Fisher’s Holmes scored with 4:14 left.

The game got no closer, as NJIT finished the last 3:57 with an 11-2 closeout.

Courtesy of NJIT Athletics

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