This is Ramon Wright’s world.
We’re just living in it.
Wright, fresh off of winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Defensive Player of the Year award, hopes to add another accolade to his season of accomplishments:
Being an NJAC champion.
The Profs jumped one hurdle in their quest towards the title as they defeated Montclair State University in the NJAC tournament semifinals, 95-86, on Tuesday night.
The Brown and Gold displayed impressive resiliency, bouncing back from a rough 58 percent showing from the free-throw line in the first half, righting the ship in the second half and finishing 70 percent from the line on 30 free-throw attempts.
Wright, a versatile senior guard/forward, led the team in scoring with a career-high 27 points on 17 shots. He also tacked on five rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
“I knew they were going to play off of me,” Wright said. “I knew I’d have a little bit of a gap just to kind of turn my shoulder, get in the lane a little bit. Once I hit my first shot, I knew I was feeling it.”
Fellow senior guard DaRon Curry scored 23 points, which included a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line. Curry’s biggest impact came right out of the gate at the beginning of the second half, when he hit three consecutive shots from deep to give Rowan breathing room in what had been a three point game.
“It was awesome. You want to talk about setting the tone,” said head coach Joe Crispin. “I’m proud of him, he just fought through… [He] comes out of halftime and just explodes and that pretty much was the difference for the rest of the game.”
Rounding out the scoring, Nick and Rob DePersia posted 14 and 10, combining for six assists, respectively.
The Profs had trouble defending Montclair State’s three point shooting in the first half, as the Red Hawks shot 7-10 from beyond the arc, but were able to lock down in the second half, limiting them to just 5-18 the rest of the way. A big difference-maker for the Brown and Gold was their aggressiveness defensively, as they posted nine blocks and eight steals.
That aggressiveness can lead to mistakes, however. During one critical sequence, three Profs dove for a loose ball, only to end up stuck on a 4-on-2 in transition. In what could have been a disastrous series of events, Rowan’s defense was able to hold the Red Hawks without a shot, leading to a steal on the other end and a subsequent Ramon Wright dunk in transition.
“This guy’s ridiculous,” Crispin said of Wright. “Dude is just ridiculous.”
Rowan will be facing off against New Jersey City University in Jersey City at 7 p.m. this Friday for the NJAC championship. The winner will receive an automatic bid in the Division III National Tournament. The loser will be considered for an at-large bid in the tournament, but nothing is promised.
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