On Wednesday, Nov. 9, Cabrini men’s basketball went up against a hefty Rutgers Camden lineup. Cabrini’s high energy allowed the team to start hot with a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes as Rutgers had trouble holding onto the ball.
Cabrini caused 11 turnovers in the first half while only giving up the ball eight times in the first half. It was truly a back-and-forth game of basketball.
Neither team could seem to gain a lead. Cabrini struggled offensively, shooting 25% from the field to Rutgers’ 36%. Free throws allowed the men in blue and white to stay within reach, shooting an even 50% from the line.
Due to a lack of size, Cabrini also struggled to corral any defensive rebounds allowing Rutgers-Camden 10 second chance points on six offensive boards in comparison to Cabrini’s two offensive rebounds. As the stalemate of a first half came to a close, Rutgers-Camden led 28-20.
Second half surge
After a short break, both teams were ready for the second half. The back-and-forth trend trickled into the opening minutes of the second half, but soon the momentum changed. Cabrini caused Rutgers to get into foul trouble early, tightening the gap from the line. Before they knew it, the Cavs were down 12 points with 15:56 left in the game. After a short timeout, the Cavs regained composure and slowly chipped away at the deficit for an 8-3 run.
Cabrini capitalized heavily on Rutgers’ inability to hold onto the ball, causing six turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Shortly after subbing in the game, sophomore guard Patrick Campbell knocked down a clutch three pointer to put the Cavs down two.
Cabrini sophomore guard Donoven Mack scored a layup plus a foul to knot the game up at 42. The Cavs were now in control and the Nerney Field House was electric. The crowd roaring and stomping on the bleachers with every Cabrini basket. Rutgers was running out of options and began making costly mistakes in the game’s closing minutes.
In the wake of two massive turnovers, sophomore guard Ahmadu Sarnor dialed in with two consecutive three pointers. Sarnor continued his hot streak, knocking down shot after shot, finishing with 23 points, 17 alone in the second half.
Sarnor’s late spark and the team’s overall effort allowed for the Cavaliers to achieve their first win of the season.
After the game, head coach Timothy McDonald had much to reflect on, but also plenty to be proud of. “Defensively, I thought we played really well. … If we can do that for 40 minutes, we can be succesful,” McDonald said.
Mcdonald also stressed the use of a simple offense. “We dribbled the ball way too much. I kept telling our guys it felt like we were dribbling the air out of the ball, when on offense we just want to keep it simple,” McDonald said.
He is excited to see where this team is headed coming off the win. “One thing we can hang our hat on was our defense, I think we did a really good job disrupting what they [Rutgers] wanted to do. … Our focus is always going to remain that way: be really good on defense and then let our offense catch up as we go,” McDonald said.