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Mens Basketball: Rutgers over TCNJ 80-77

CAMDEN (Feb. 23, 2008) – Sophomore forward Alex Rislin (Union, NJ/Union) scored on a layup, was fouled and tacked on a foul shot with 20.9 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Rutgers University-Camden men’s basketball team past The College of New Jersey, 80-77, in the final game of the season for both New Jersey Athletic Conference teams.

The victory allowed the Raptors (6-19 overall and 3-10) to edge past the Lions (6-19/2-11) for fourth place in the final NJAC South Division standings, marking the first time since the 2001-02 season that Rutgers-Camden has climbed out of the NJAC cellar. It also gave Rutgers-Camden a sweep of the home-and-home series against TCNJ this season, the first time that has happened since the teams started playing a pair of games in 1983-84. TCNJ, which now leads the all-time series, 52-11, had won 40 of the last 41 games in the rivalry entering this season.

The game also was the final contest for senior guard Tarell Robinson (Irvington, NJ/St. Benedict’s Prep), who ended his Raptor career with 10 points, seven rebounds, one assist and four steals. He tied for game-high honors in steals with Raptor sophomore guard Joshua Askew (Philadelphia, PA/Winslow Township).

The Lions, who roared back from a 10-point deficit (42-32) early in the second half, appeared headed for the win in regulation. They led, 73-70, when the Raptors’ freshman guard Brandon Canty (Riverside, NJ/Riverside) canned a game-tying three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left in the second half.

In overtime, the two teams were tied at 75-75 and 77-77 before Rislin scored the winning basket. The Lions missed a pair of foul shots in the last second, including the second one intentionally, and Canty grabbed the rebound to clinch the victory.

With the win, Rutgers-Camden matched its record last season in the first year under Head Coach Brian Wischusen. The 12 victories in two seasons are the most since the team went a combined 13-36 over the 2002-03 and 2003-04 campaigns.

Rutgers-Camden was sparked by a sterling effort from Askew, who scored 18 points, added five rebounds and tied for game-high honors with both three assists and four steals.

Canty finished with 14 points for the Raptors, while adding a team-high nine rebounds. Rislin notched 10 points, including the decisive three.

TCNJ received a game-high 19 points from sophomore guard Jay Frank (Brick, NJ/Brick Memorial), while senior forward Mark Aziz (Hackettstown, NJ/West Morris) added 16 points and junior guard Jeff Molinelli (Pennington, NJ/Hopewell Valley) notched 15. The 16 points and five rebounds allowed Aziz to finish his career with 815 points and 341 rebounds.

Senior guard Corey Gilmore (South Plainfield, NJ/South Plainfield) added 10 points for the Lions, while senior guard Jeff Warner (Jackson, NJ/Jackson) had a game-high 16 rebounds.

Junior guard Bill Banks (Berlin, NJ/Eastern Regional) finished his first year at Rutgers-Camden with seven points, going 1-for-3 from three-point range to hit his 60th trey of the season. He tied Tyrone Rucker (2003-04) and Brian O’Donnell (1989-90) for seventh place on the single-season list of three-pointers. His three-point percentage of .432 was the sixth-highest single-season three-point percentage in program history for anybody with a minimum of 50 attempts.

Askew, meanwhile, finished with 59 steals for the second straight season. Halfway through his Rutgers-Camden career, he has 118 steals, only 45 shy of the career mark of 163 by Dane Nicholson (2003-07).