By Otto Gomez
After starting the season, 1-1, the Lions came home and battled Western Connecticut State University for a 83-82 overtime win on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The team followed by splitting their first two New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) games of the year — falling to Montclair State University, 83-63, on Saturday, Nov. 21, and beating Rutgers-Camden University, 93-66, on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
In the game against the Pioneers, the Lions gave the crowd a great start to the season in their first home game of the year. The Lions stayed with the Colonials all throughout, with the game coming down to the wire. Down two points with 13 seconds left in the game, sophomore guard Eric Murdock, Jr. drove to the rim and drew contact, sending him to the charity stripe.
He was able to connect with both to send the game into overtime, where the College picked up the win, 83-82, over a cheering crowd. Murdock finished with 16 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
For their first NJAC contest of the year, the Lions traveled to Montclair to face a 1-0 Red Hawks squad. Similar to their last game, the Lions were down at the half, this time by 16 points. Even with the help of junior guard, captain Eric Klacik’s pair of three pointers in the second half, his team wasn’t able to fight off Montclair as the final score was 83-63.
In their second NJAC game, the Lions were able to bounce back in a strong way against Rutgers-Camden with a convincing 93-66 victory. The team was leading at the half by a huge margin of 50-21, a period where three Lions scored in double digits. Murdock scored 15 in the first half and ended with 26 points and 10 rebounds, continuing his very strong start to the season.
A few weeks prior, Murdock was named to the All-Tournament Team of the Wheaton Tip-Off Tournament.
“First, I would like to say that it was an honor to represent TCNJ and the basketball program on the All-Tournament Team,” Murdock said. “The early success comes from the confidence that my teammates and coaches have in me to lead the team. Being a starter as a freshman and now starting as a sophomore has given me confidence within myself to make the right plays and be a vocal leader on the floor.”
The Lions’ next game is on Tuesday, Dec. 1, against Skidmore College at home.