Maliq Sanders keeps the ball away from a defender. Sanders is currently averaging 13.5 points per game, second best on the team. - Photo / Rowan Athletics.

In a game of bounces, how many times will the ball fall to the ground, missing its target? Or hit off the rim before falling through the net for that game-winning bucket? In a game of percentages, even the best shooter is just as likely to yield an imperfect result.

After a tough 8-10 start to the season including 4-7 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, the Rowan University men’s basketball team have only one option: keep on shooting. It’s the only way forward.

“We just take it one game at a time right now,” guard Maliq Sanders said. “Week-by-week, game-by-game and just try to get better every day.” 

In the first year with a new cast of starters, coach Joe Crispin’s equal-opportunity offense was tested early and often by the forces of uncertainty and unfamiliarity, highlighted by a four-game losing streak in early December. As the season progressed, these issues fell to the wayside as the Brown and Gold blew the doors off William Paterson University, Kean University and Rutgers University – Newark during a stretch of three victories in four contests.

“In the beginning we started off just getting to know everybody,” Sanders said. “Now everyone knows what we’re good at and we know what we’re not good at. We just try to focus on our strengths.”

The Profs have been at their best as Sanders leads the way. Standing at 6’6”, the supersized guard ranks second on the team in scoring, posting 13.5 points per game while demonstrating the ability to score at a high volume, including a team-high 44 made 3-pointers. Sanders has led the squad in scoring a team-high six times, including four 20-plus point performances, leading to three wins in the process.

Despite his own personal success, Sanders is quick to heap praise on his teammates.

“I feel like when we move the ball well, we win games and we play better,” Sanders said. “(During those games) that just means we were good at moving the ball that day.”

Recently, the Brown and Gold have dropped two straight contests to New Jersey City University and Rutgers University – Camden, losing by two and three points respectively; further proof that in a game of bounces, the ball won’t always bounce your way.

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