The FDU-Florham Devils men's basketball team struggled as they fell to the King's College Monarchs, 73-63.
In the first half, the teams were evenly matched. However, the difference maker between the squads was three-point shooting, as the Monarchs proved to be the greater threat from beyond the arch. King's College shot 31% from deep, while the Devils shot 29% from deep.
Nothing was glaring about those issues, but some would agree that numbers only tell part of the story. Heading into this game, the Monarchs junior point guard Will Johnson struggled from deep, shooting 2-for-20 from three. However, the Devils allowed Johnson to get in a groove as he dominated from deep. He recorded 11 points and hit 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Despite being unable to contain Johnson, Devils junior forward Matthew Johnson answered the bell. Every moment the Devils began looking like they were out of the game, he picked up the slack and contributed. Although he didn't do enough to secure the win, he played phenomenally, and this only grew in the second half.
"Yeah, I thought the key in the first half was we got great shots, but we didn't convert on enough at the rim, and we didn't convert enough of our threes either," FDU-Florham head coach Jeff Slanovec expressed after the game.
In the second half, similarly to the Devils adjusting to Will Johnson killing them from deep, the Monarchs were forced to do the same. Both Johnsons only became hotter and more efficient in the second half. Due to Matthew Johnson, the Devils were beginning to build momentum, which was stopped by their lack of defense. Before the Monarchs' timeout, Matt Johnson scored two threes back-to-back.
"Their guards were doing a great job penetrating and the big was coming to help and he was getting open looks [Matthew Johnson]," King's College head coach J.P. Andrejko stated in the post-game interview. "Instead, we rotated our backside help instead of the big man. That eliminated his open looks throughout the game."
Ultimately, FDU-Florham is a young team, and they are continuing to learn how to win. Although it appears they're struggling, they're far better than what their record portrays them to be. Once their team identity is determined, they will begin to see the results go in their favor. However, their defense was lackluster and will need to improve as they prepare for the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks this Wednesday evening.
"... We don't guard well enough right now and we don't have a guy willing to sit in his stance and play defense," Slanovec expressed.
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