Ja’Zere Noel reaches 1,000 career points as Rowan Men’s Basketball takes down William Paterson

Ja'Zere Noel rises for a jump shot. Noel recorded his 1,000th career point as a Prof against William Paterson. - Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. - Photo via Lee Kotzen

On Jan. 17, the Profs lost to the 11-6 Stockton Ospreys in Galloway, NJ by a score of 109-99 to end their six-game winning streak. The Ospreys were also able to complete the regular season sweep against the Profs, a feat that Rowan achieved against Stockton during the 2022-2023 regular season last year.

On Saturday, Jan. 20, head coach Eric Brennan and the Profs were looking to bounce back, and did so in a big way, as they dominated the William Paterson Pioneers 112-79 to improve their overall record to 13-5 and conference record to 7-4. 

Entering the game, senior forward Ja’Zere Noel was 35 points away from achieving 1,000 points scored in his two seasons with the Profs. Noel was able to reach this feat as he scored 35 exactly, while also grabbing 11 rebounds. Noel joined fellow senior Marcellus Ross as the only two active players on the team to have 1,000 career points scored with the Profs. 

Noel was running with emotion after achieving this milestone.

“It feels good to be notified by every one of your hard work, but this to me shows how much my teammates trust me, how much my coaches believe in me, and I’ve been able to be rewarded because of that trust they put into me,” Noel said. 

Even though this is Brennan’s first season in the head coaching role for the Profs, he spent last year as an assistant coach with Noel and has seen his progression.

“I’m super proud of him because he’s not one of these kids that doesn’t work on his game, he’s constantly doing that,” Brennan said. “You’re just happy when you see a kid that’s worked as hard as he has to be able to experience that and enjoy this moment on his home court with his teammates.” 

The Pioneers were able to keep the game close throughout the first half, as Rowan only held a five-point lead before Noel sank a buzzer-beating three to end the first half, giving the Profs an eight-point lead entering the locker rooms.

Despite the lead, the Profs didn’t feel like they played up to their standard against a struggling William Paterson team, who entered the game with a 1-8 conference record. 

During the half, Brennan told his guys they were “not doing enough defensively, we’re out there like we don’t care if they score or not.” The Profs took that speech to heart and proceeded to outscore the Pioneers 62-39 in the second half to run away with the game.

Ross added 20 points along with four rebounds, and four assists while shooting a perfect 9-9 at the free throw line. 

Senior guard Booty Butler was absent in this contest due to injury, which opened the door for junior guard Drew Amos, who played major minutes in his place. In the 18 minutes Amos played, he scored 12 points on a perfect 4-4 from three-point territory.

Senior center Ryan Ems played 10 meaningful minutes, ending with seven points, seven rebounds, one steal, and one block.

Brennan loved what he saw from these two Profs in the contest. 

“Ems and Amos stepped up in a big way, and these guys come to practice and practice hard every day,” Brennan said. “They’re getting their reps in and staying ready, and it paid off at multiple points during the year.” 

The Profs will take a trip to Ewing, NJ on Jan. 24 to play the 13-4 Lions of TCNJ, a team that came to Rowan on Nov. 29 and defeated the Profs 82-72. Brennan has learned from that previous matchup and is confident in his team to get another New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) win. 

“We’ve already watched the game we played against them, and we’ll make adjustments as we see fit,” Brennan said. “We’ll be ready to go with our game plan come Monday, get good days of practice, and be ready for tip-off Wednesday.” 

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