Men’s basketball heads to the NJAC championships

On Tuesday night, Feb. 21, Stockton Men’s Basketball hosted the NJAC Semifinal game against Montclair. The Ospreys defended their home court, beating the Red Hawks 91 to 86. The lead scorers of the match were DJ Campbell (#4) with 35 points, Kyion Flanders (#2) with 18 points, and Kadian Dawkins (#0) with 15.

Campbell (center) competes in the NJAC semifinals. Photo Courtesy of Rachel Rolle.

Campbell (#4) gave Stockton an early lead, making the first two three-pointers of the game, 6-0. Campbell’s performance set the pace for the entire game, resulting in 21 fast break points compared to Montclair’s 3 points. The momentum at the beginning of the first half seemed to be favoring Stockton until Montclair players made back-to-back threes. After trailing Stockton by nine points, Montclair closed the gap with 12 points to the Ospreys’ 13.

Despite Stockton’s close-knit defense, they started to run into trouble toward the end of the first half. Dawkins (#0) ran into foul trouble, having to wait it out for a good portion of the first half. Additionally, Montclair’s offense responded well to the defensive pressure by shooting threes and feeding their players cutting in the paint.

It was a close game, so taking advantage of every opportunity was essential. Campbell (#4) was called to the free-throw line several times and made 16 out of 17 of his shots. At one point, the Ospreys were only up by two, and Campbell(#4) slowed the game down by going three for three on the free throw line. The score was 41 to 39 before Campbell(#4) increased the lead, making it 44 to 39.

Stockton triumphs over Montclair in the NJAC semifinals. Photo courtesy of Rachel Rolle.

The momentum continued to shift throughout the entire game, with Stockton’s win only solidifying with 9 seconds left. The score was tied 81 to 81 with three minutes left in the second half. Within the next thirty seconds, Montclair’s player hit the three, after which Jonathan Azoroh (#1) came back with a steal and shot a lay-in, tying the game 84 to 84. In the last minute, Azoroh(#1) added to the total score by making both of his foul shots. The score was then 87 to 86 with 36.7 seconds left.

When asked what his thoughts were in those final moments Azoroh(#1) recalled “I zoned out, [but] I knew I was going to make them. At every practice, I shoot at least 100 free throws…I was not nervous or anything. I was actually happy that I was going to the line.” In the last moments of the game, his teammate, Campbell (#4), took the opportunity to increase the lead, making both sets of his foul shots. Campbell (#4) earned all four points which further increased Stockton’s lead. The final score was 91 to 86 with 8.8sec left in the entire game.

On Friday evening, the Ospreys will head over to Rowan. Stockton’s resiliency has gotten them this far; Now it is time for them to make a comeback after their two losses in the regular season. Anything can happen in the playoffs: Montclair made an upset against NJCU and almost won the quarterfinals. From this team’s history, they are more than capable of winning the championship title this year. To find the final results of each game visit the Stockton Athletics page: