The Richard Stockton men's basketball team will host the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship today at 6 p.m.
Of course, this is way sports always seems to work out, Stockton will face the only team it lost to in the conference: William Paterson.
Paterson is ranked 13th nationally. Part of their success lies in Corey Chandler – although teammate Lance Brown was named NJAC Player of the Year earlier this week.
Chandler, who was named to the NJAC first team, is a former Division I player. But he was dismissed by Rutgers in 2009, violating athletic department policy, and ended up in two other schools before he stopped playing basketball for a while. To read more about Chandler's odyssey, check out this article in The Star Ledger.
Chandler's road has taken him to Paterson, and Stockton will now have to stop the talented player. The Ospreys couldn't do it in their first match-up. Chandler scored 28 of his 32 points in the second half, including an important 3-pointer with less than a minute in the game. The Pioneers beat Stockton 73-71 on Jan. 7.
Chandler leads Paterson with 19.7 points, 4.3 assists and 2.6 steals a game.
Stockton's might have to stop Chandler by using more than one person, but it might not be able to afford it because of Brown, who is averaging more than 18 points a game. The Ospreys have quick guards, but they are also going to need guys who won't be at a height disadvantage to the 6-foot-2 Chandler.
Stockton doesn't have a guy like Kai Massaquoi anymore, a former conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was quick and nimble, and able to get himself in the right position.
But the Ospreys do have Darnell McCargo, who has come on as a solid defensive player. In the NJAC semifinal, where Stockton beat Ramapo 89-87 in double overtime, McCargo played all but three minutes and scored just six points.
After the game, he said: “I was in there for my defense not my offense.”
Chandler and Brown are going to pose big problems for Stockton today, and if the Ospreys do have something to exploit it's the lapse in defense they tend to show at times.