GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Some people in the crowd began chanting "Gerry, Gerry" about two minutes before the end of the Richard Stockton College men's basketball game on Saturday.
Stockton earned an easy 78-58 victory over Farmingdale State, which gave 71-year-old Gerry Matthews his 515th career victory at Stockton, making him the winningest coach in New Jersey college basketball history.
Matthews, who has a 515-217 record in his 27-year career, broke the mark of 514 victories set by former Princeton University coach Pete Carril (514-261).
People gathered around Matthews and posed for photos with him after he was presented with the game ball.
Matthews talked about the milestone, but was actually thinking more about how his team had just started 2-0 this weekend and won the first Stockton Tip-Off Tournament since his coaching tenure began in 1985. He also talked about Stockton's key game at home against Kean University on Tuesday.
"I didn't even know I was close to the record until one of my players mentioned it to me two years ago," Matthews said. "Pete Carril probably doesn't even know he had the record. I've talked with him a few times. He's aware of who I am.
"I saw him three years ago. We needed an extra game, and we ended up playing Princeton in a scrimmage, and he was there. We did pretty well against them."
Matthews and assistants Kevin Brooks, Scott Bittner and Bob Hutchings were more concerned about the season's start. Stockton began at 1-4 last year, though the team went on to a 20-9 record.
"We've never talked about the record, but I'm happy to have it," Matthews said. "It's something that goes with being around a long time."
Matthews' wife, Joanne, was there, along with Sherri Nixon, one of their three children.
"My son (Gerry) and my other daughter live in California," Matthews said. "I talked to him last night and said not to worry about (the record) because I didn't think we'd win anyway."
Josh Blamon led Stockton with 20 points, and Rich Suhr and Darnell McCargo added 16 points apiece. The Ospreys led 41-20 at halftime. The Rams, of Long Island, N.Y., cut it to 58-43 with just over eight minutes left, but Suhr hit consecutive 3-pointers and the lead was 64-43.
"I only found out about (the record) a couple days ago," said Blamon, a 19-year-old sophomore from Cinnaminson. "It was definitely a factor today. It's like when you have a player who's close to getting 1,000 points. You do all you can to help them reach that goal."
Farmingdale was taller, but Stockton went on a run midway through the first half.
"They came out flat and we took it to them," Matthews said. "You shoot the ball better when your kids are into it."
Matthews took pictures with the team and coaches, friends and Matthews' former assistant coaches, including Chris Crowley and Roy Heck.
"Not one word was spoken (before the game) about (the record)," Hutchings said. "But it's not like we weren't aware of it. It was a great day for him and for Richard Stockton College."
Contact Guy Gargan:
Farmingdale State 20 38-58
Richard Stockton 41 37-78
F-Bailey 2 1-2 7, Matthews 7 6-11 20, T. Johnson 2 0-0 4, Davis 4 0-0 11, Nunez 2 0-0 4, Fishenden 1 0-0 2, Henderson 2 0-4 4, Esonwune 3 0-0 6. Totals-23 7-17 58.
RS-K. Johnson 2 5-5 9, Blamon 8 0-0 20, Suhr 7 0-2 16, McCargo 6 1-2 16, Pistone 2 0-0 4, Hunt 2 0-0 4, Bolden 1 0-0 2, R. Johnson 1 0-2 2. Totals-30 9-16 78.
3-pointers-Davis, Bailey F. Blamon (4), McCargo (3), Suhr (2) RS.
Records-Stockton 2-0; Farmingdale 1-1.