Highlanders Rally Late, But Fall Short in 63-61 Loss

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Highlanders Rally Late, But Fall Short in 63-61 Loss

NEWARK, NJ – The NJIT Highlanders (9-11, 2-3 ASUN) rallied late, but fell short in a 63-61 loss to the Jacksonville Dolphins (10-12, 4-1 ASUN) on Saturday afternoon at the Wellness and Events Center (WEC) in Newark.
The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Highlanders at the WEC.
NJIT had chances to tie the game or take the lead in the final two minutes, but was unable to get over the hump.
Trailing 61-59, Anthony Tarke missed a potential go-ahead three with 1:15 to go.
A couple minutes earlier, Tarke drove through traffic and hit a layup with 3:05 left that tied the game at 59 apiece but Jacksonville’s Jace Hogan quickly answered with a jumper on the other end.
Devin Harris layup at the 8:25 mark of the second half opened up a double digit lead for the Dolphins at 55-45 before the Highlanders embarked on a 14-4 run capped by the afore-mentioned layup from Tarke that tied the game at 59. Freshman guard Zach Cooks had five points during the stretch for NJIT.
Junior forward Abdul Lewis notched his fifth double-double of the season with a game-high 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Highlanders. The double-double for Lewis was his first since an 11-point, 10-rebound effort on Dec. 12 at Colgate.
Lewis was joined in double figures by junior guard Diandre Wilson (11 points) and Tarke (10 points, nine rebounds). Cooks added seven off the bench for head coach Brian Kennedy‘s squad.
Hogan paced Jacksonville with 12 points, while the trio of Cody HelgelandJalyn Hinton and JD Notae came through with 10 points apiece. Harris contributed nine points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
Tarke hit a free throw with 14:13 to play that tied the game at 38 apiece before Notae converted a layup on the other end to kickstart a 17-7 run for the Dolphins over the next five plus minutes.
In a game that featured three of the ASUN’s top five rebounders entering play, the Highlanders outrebounded the Dolphins by a 39-34 margin led by the 14 caroms from Lewis. Harris’ 11 rebounds topped Jacksonville.
Jacksonville got off to a strong start in this one as a 17-7 run midway through the first half capped by a triple from Tanner Rubio made it a 25-15 game in favor of the visitors with 6:46 left in the opening stanza.
Wilson and sophomore guard Shyquan Gibbs combined for 10 of NJIT’s 12 points during an ensuing 12-0 run that gave the hosts a 27-25 advantage with 2:47 left in the first half.
The Dolphins scored the final four points of the half and took a 29-27 edge into the locker room.
The Highlanders hit the road to battle the Kennesaw St. Owls (5-14, 1-3 ASUN) on Wednesday night at the KSU Convocation Center. Opening tip is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN3.

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