Men’s basketball must win out for chance at playoff bid

After nabbing a must-win game versus Montclair in OT, Rowan remains in the tournament hunt but needs some help.

Junior forward Shawn Wilson skies for a layup in an 84-83 overtime win over Montclair State on Wednesday. The win kept Rowan in contention for a playoff spot. The Profs trail sixth-place Montclair by two games with two remaining. -Photo Editor/Justin Fata

The Rowan men’s basketball team has been playing in win-now mode for the last month.

Even so, Rowan (6-10, 9-14 overall)* has lost six of its last nine games, all by single digits. They’re playing just as hard as ever, but issues with consistency continue for the team currently sitting tied for seventh in the NJAC standings.

If the Profs don’t want their season to end in two weeks, they have to win their final two games against Rutgers-Newark and William Paterson. They have to shoot far better than they did against Kean on Saturday when they went 6-of-32 from three, and they have to rebound far better than they did against Montclair State when they were beat 31-8 on the offensive boards.

Most importantly, as head coach Joe Cassidy says, they have to play consistent.

“We just haven’t been playing consistently good basketball,” Cassidy said. “You’re not going to translate 6-32 three-point shooting into a win at any level.”

It’s been said all season that the brown and gold are better than their record shows, and their 85-84 overtime win against Montclair State on Wednesday night showed they still have some fight left. Rowan is two games back in the conference with only two games to go, and a lot needs to go right for the team to make the playoffs.

But if they can get there, senior center and captain Dan Brogan says the team can make some noise.

“We’ve been in every single game so we can give anyone a fight,” said Brogan. “These could be the last couple games of our career so we’re going to give it our all and try to help our team get these wins.”

Senior forward Chris Gross said he agrees that it’s time for Rowan to buckle down. They’ve been saying they need to toughen up for awhile, now they have to show it on the court.

“It’s starting to hit me that this is my last year, and we really have to get these wins,” Gross said. “I don’t want to go home after these next few games; I know I want to play a few more.”

The Profs were able to win the first of three-must win games when they defeated Montclair. While the team is clearly already playing in a playoff atmosphere, Cassidy says he hasn’t been pushing the memo to his team.

“I mentioned it once in practice and once in the locker room before the game,” said Cassidy. “Everyone knows what’s going on and everyone knows that if we lose we’re going home.”

At least for another few days, Rowan is still in the playoff hunt. The Profs head into Rutgers-Newark on Saturday riding the momentum from their overtime win, and Brogan says the team’s confidence is back where it needs to be.

“We definitely know after this one that we can beat anybody,” Brogan said. “This was the first step, now we just have to get back in practice tomorrow and get back to work.”

For questions/comments about this story, email or tweet @TheWhitSports.


*article originally had Rowan at 5-10, 8-14 overall