Gameday Preview: #1 Men's Basketball vs New Jersey City
On Wednesday, December 15, the Maccabees will head to Jersey City, New Jersey, looking for their 50th consecutive win as they take on the New Jersey City Gothic Knights, the reigning New Jersey Athletic Conference champions. This matchup will begin the Macs most difficult stretch of their season to date, as they will follow up this game with games against #4 Illinois Wesleyan and #17 Williams. The only other time that these two teams met was in 2019 when the Macs emerged victorious by a score of 97-92.
Although the Gothic Knights are currently only 6-5, they began the season with #24 ranking. Against a Farmingdale State team that the Macs beat 80-66, New Jersey City won 85-63. Riding a three game winning streak, the Gothic Knights have scored 79 or more points in each of those victories. Averaging just 11.1 assists per game as a team, New Jersey City averages just over 2.6 more turnovers than assists per game.
Senior guard Denzel Banks leads the Gothic Knights in scoring with 14.8 points per game. New Jersey City’s leader in assists is Jason Battle, who played in high school with Naz Reid of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kahlil Whitney of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (G League affiliate of the Houston Rockets). Kayton Darley, the team’s second leading scorer, has shown that he is a threat to shoot from downtown, shooting 48% from three so far this season, upping his percentage from just 29% a season ago.
Keys to the Game:
Continuing the Cleanup:
Against Medgar Evers, the Macs had a respectable assist to turnover ratio of 2:1. The Macs were able to keep their turnover number down to 13 after turning it over 22 times against Washington College. New Jersey City averages 19 points per game off of turnovers, so continuing to take care of the ball should be a focus for the Macs going into this game.
Free Throw Shooting:
The Macs continue to struggle from the free throw line after shooting just 7-14 in their last game. The team free throw percentage of 64% needs to improve if the Macs want to ensure that they can pull out wins in close games.
Playing Better from the Jump:
Though slow starts have plagued the Macs for much of the season, they seemed to have figured out how to jump out to a good first half start against Medgar Evers whom they led 49-28 at the half. The Macs were down in that game 20-14 at one point before going on a 15-2 run. They should look to start off the game playing disciplined defense and patient offense.
How to Watch:
Tip off is at 7 pm. Watch the game live here
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