By Damon Lynn,
NJIT’s record-setting sophomore guard, was voted onto the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) 2014-15 Division I Men’s Basketball All-Star third team, the ECAC announced on Thursday. There are 88 NCAA Division I members in the ECAC for 2014-15, meaning Lynn was in an elite group of 20 all-stars chosen from a pool that included 440 starters, not to mention various standout sixth men. Lynn was a key cog in NJIT’s record-setting 21-12 season that saw the Highlanders advance to the semifinal game of the national CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT). The first player in NJIT program history to reach 1,000 career points as a sophomore (1,078 at season’s end), led the Highlanders in numerous statistical categories is season, including scoring (17.5 ppg), 3-point field goals (126; school record; second-highest total nationally in DI this year); assists (123; NJIT Division I single-season record); and steals (58). Last season, as a freshman, Lynn set a school record by making 107 3-pointers, the fourth-highest total in college basketball history for a Division I freshman (the NCAA freshman record of 122 was set by current NBA superstar Stephen Curry in 2006-07 when he was a rookie at Davidson). Lynn had 15 games with at least 20 points and led or shared the team scoring lead 23 times. He has also led the assists column 13 times. The ECAC, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2013, is more an umbrella organization than a “conference” as the term is understood in the current world of intercollegiate athletics. The ECAC has over 300 members comprising more than 33 percent of the total membership of the national NCAA. ECAC membership includes programs competing in NCAA Division I, II, and III, with a geographic footprint stretching from Maine in the north all the way to North Carolina in the south. Along with providing administrative services for member institutions, the ECAC conducts an extensive program of postseason championships and all-star awards, both postseason and weekly. Historically, ECAC membership is concentrated along the Atlantic Coast from Maine in the north to a few members in North Carolina. However, there are a handful of ECAC member schools in the Midwest, including National Championship runner-up Wisconsin. Not surprisingly, then, Wisconsin senior Frank Kaminsky, the AP National Player of the Year and Big Ten Player of the Year, was voted 2015 ECAC Player of the Year. Badger coach Bo Ryan was ECAC Coach of the Year. Maryland freshman Melo Trimble was the ECAC Rookie of the Year. Trimble was the only freshman ECAC All-Star (first team). However, NJIT’s Lynn and Patriot League Player of the Year Tim Kempton of Lehigh (who joined Lynn on the ECAC third team) were the only sophomores on the ECAC All-Star team, leaving the remaining 17 spots to juniors and seniors. With Lynn and Kempton on the ECAC All-Star third team were: Dez Wells (senior, Maryland); Juwan Staten (senior, West Virginia); Will Cummings (senior, Temple); D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (junior, Georgetown); and Ivy League Player of the Year Justin Sears (Yale). The ECAC All-Star selection process begins with member programs submitting the names and statistics of their own players deemed worthy of consideration. The ECAC office then compiles a distributes a ballot to member programs (88 in Division I). Each program is allowed one vote (usually the head coach) and voters may not choose their own players. Selection as one of 20 ECAC Division I All-Stars is the third major postseason award in 2015 for Lynn. The first major honor was announced on March 27, when Lynn was voted onto the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 13 first team by the coaches in District 13 (combination of Ivy League, Patriot League and Independent NJIT). On March 30, he was announced as a recipient of honorable mention on the Associated Press 2014-15 All-America team. Lynn is the third Highlander to receive AP All-America honorable mention in Division I, following Isaiah Wilkerson (2012) and Chris Flores (2013). Lynn followed Flores (2013) as the second NABC All-District honoree for NJIT at the DI level. However, Lynn is the first Division I ECAC All-Star for NJIT in Division I (era began in 2006-07).
UAlbany Sweeps Close Sunday Doubleheader, Earning Weekend Series Split Against NJIT
A day after dropping both ends of a Saturday baseball doubleheader against vs. NJIT, UAlbany came back to edge the visiting Highlanders twice on Sunday, 7-6 and 5-3, in a pair of seven-inning games. After the split of the four-game weekend series, UAlbany is 9-12, while the Highlanders drop to 15-11-1. NJIT, which never trailed at any point in its winning sweep on Saturday, had the table turned in Sunday’s opener. The Highlanders scored first with a run in the opening inning, but then fell behind 6-1 after three innings. Spending the rest of the game trying to catch up, NJIT closed to within a run of the lead and had the potential tying run on base in the last inning before coming up short, 7-6. In the nightcap, the Highlanders built a 3-0 advantage through three innings, but couldn’t hold off the Great Danes, who rallied for two runs in the fourth inning and three runs in the fifth, while holding NJIT scoreless over the last four frames of a 5-3 victory. Senior RHP Matt Gallup (1-1) started and got the victory for the Great Danes in Game One after pitching five innings and allowing two runs on four hits. Lefty grad student Daniel Castro ran into trouble as the first reliever, allowing two runs without recording an out, but senior Joey Moore picked up his second save after allowing four hits and two runs in two innings, but preventing NJIT from completing its late comeback. Freshman RHP Sean Lubreski (2-2) started and took the loss for the Highlanders. He was charged with 10 hits and six runs in four innings. Classmate Brent Jonesallowed a run over the last two innings. In the second game, junior RHP Terry Dugdale (1-1) got the win for UAlbany with three innings of scoreless relief. He came on for starter Michael Adams who yielded all three NJIT runs. The pitcher of record on the short side was NJIT reliever Tyler Kapp (0-1), who finally had a rough outing after 10 near-untouchable previous relief appearances. Kapp allowed three runs in 1.1 innings on Sunday, less than 24 hours after recording his team-best sixth saves against UAlbany on Saturday. Kapp, who came into Sunday with six consecutive scoreless appearances, had allowed three earned runs in 24.1 innings pitched over his first 10 outings. Even with Sunday’s rough patch, his season’s earned run average remains low (2.10). Kapp relieved the Highlander starter, freshman RHP Johnny Malatesta, who surrendered two runs in 3.2 innings Sunday. Malatesta, who allowed four hits, matched his career-high in strikeouts, with six, but also equaled his high for walks, with four. John Saviano, another freshman finished the game for NJIT with a scoreless inning of relief. UAlbany piled up 13 hits in Sunday’s opening game, but only one, a double by RF Eric Mueller (2-for-3, 3 RBI) went for extra bases. SS Trevor DeMerritt (3-for-4) and 2B Adam Mund (3-for-3) were the hits leaders for the Great Danes, who also got two hits each from Mueller, 3B Matt Hinchy, and LF Alex Lushkevich, For NJIT, RF Jesse Uttendorfer, C Stephan Halibej, and LF Matt McKinnon all had two hits each. Halibej’s hits were a double and triple. Uttendorfer and DH Evan Pietronico each drove in a pair of runs for the Highlanders. The Highlanders took their early 1-0 lead after Uttendorfer led off the game with a single and later came home on a sacrifice fly by SS Bryan Haberstroh. The lead didn’t last, however, as the Great Danes went up 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning, with the tying run scoring on Mueller’s single up the middle and Mueller scoring the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. The Great Danes took control with four runs in the bottom of the third inning on a rally that started with two out and no one on base. DeMerritt sparked it with a two-out infield single and Lushkevich, Mueller, and Mund all got runs batted in, with another run coming in on another NJIT wild pitch. NJIT began the climb back in the fourth inning, which Halibej led off with a triple. He then scored on a ball hit to the middle of the infield. Still trailing, 6-2 through five innings, the Highlanders drew closer with a pair of runs in the sixth, with both scoring on Uttendorfer’s two-out single. With the lead trimmed to 6-4, UAlbany added what would be a critical run in the bottom of the sixth inning on Mueller’s sacrifice fly. Down to their last out in the top of the seventh inning, the Highlanders got a single from Haberstroh, who came around when the next batter, Halibej, doubled to right field. Pietronico then singled to bring home Halibej, but UAlbany’s Moore finally got the last out, stranding Pietronico on first base. The getaway game began well for the Highlanders, who got a two-run single in the second inning from C Cody Kramer (1-for-3) and then a leadoff home run from CF Ed Charlton (3-for-4, double, home run) to begin the third inning. Unfortunately for NJIT, the Highlanders would manage just two hits for the rest of the game after Charlton’s team-leading sixth homer of the season. UAlbany had eight hits in the nightcap, two from Mueller (2-for-3), who was 5-for-6 in the two Sunday games. DeMerritt (1-for-3) added a triple and drove in three of the home team’s five runs in the comeback win. Trailing 3-0 after the Charlton home run for the Highlanders, UAlbany got two runs in fourth inning on a two-out, two-run single by C Brendan Behan. DeMerritt hit a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the fifth inning off of NJIT’s Kapp, flipping the score in UAlbany’s favor, 5-3. After a scoreless sixth inning for both teams, NJIT’s Charlton doubled with two outs in the top of the seventh, but UAlbany’s Dugdale sealed the win with a game-ending strikeout. NJIT is off until Friday, when it begins another four-game weekend series, this one against Wagner. The series will be played in both Newark and Staten Island, NY. Friday night’s game is a 6 pm start in Newark at Riverfront Stadium. The teams will shift to Staten Island and Richmond County Bank Ballpark for an afternoon doubleheader on Saturday and then return to Newark for a 1 pm game on Sunday at Riverfront Stadium.