In their second game of 2023, the Rowan men’s basketball team hit the hardwood against the Kean Cougars Saturday afternoon, Jan. 4. The duo off the bench, Josh Wright and Damian Smith, tallied 19 and 18 points respectively, with starter Connor Dickerson chipping in 17 points to lead the Profs to a 87-70 victory.
The two teams were often on the seesaw when it came to scoring in the first half. Sophomore D’Andre Vilmar provided a boost with two baskets back-to-back to give Rowan an 8-4 lead, which started a 16-6 run for the Profs.
Towards the end of the first half, Kean carried the momentum of the game by going on a 11-6 scoring run to take a 43-40 lead. Kean resumed their scoring in the second half and obtained a 50-48 lead.
However, momentum started to build for the Profs when Dickerson was fouled while attempting a three-pointer and drained all three free throws. On the next play, Dickerson halted at the three point arc and waited for the defense to try to block him, then drained the ball to give Rowan their first lead after Kean’s scoring run.
Head Coach Joe Crispin counted on Dickerson’s aggression eventually being the turning point for the game.
“I told him [Dickerson] there’s going to be opportunities for him to be aggressive, in the first half, I didn’t think he took those,” Coach Crispin said. “In the second half he did. He’s played really well for us the whole year but sometimes he’s very in tuned with what the game needs.”
Wright also stepped up with his play by providing scoring chances for his teammates, defending his own net against Kean’s offense and scoring points.
“Connor [Dickerson] and Josh [Wright] just kind of manage the game,” Coach Crispin said. “The flow of it, where the ball needed to go. Josh we always expect to score, he’s just an incredible scorer.”
Rowan was up 62-55 when Wright drove to the net for a basket and fell to the wood but still managed to score, eliciting a loud roar from the crowd. It was clear after the game that Wright was proud of his performance.
“It feels great to get this win. It felt good giving my minutes to the team,” Wright said. “We just came out a little flat in the first half but the second half we turned it around.”
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