The Richard Stockton College men's basketball team can add to its storied history tonight with a win at home against William Paterson University in the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship game in Galloway Township.
Tip-off is 7 p.m.
Top-seeded Stockton (22-4) qualified for the NJAC final on Wednesday with a 64-63 semifinal win over fourth-seeded Kean University at the Stockton Athletic Complex. Kevin Johnson drove the length of the court for a layup with nine seconds left to give the Ospreys the victory.
William Paterson (21-5), the No. 2 seed, defeated third-seeded Rutgers-Newark 75-66 in its semifinal.
The winner will clinch an automatic bid in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Stockton, which is ranked No. 23 in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll, has won six conference championships, the last being in 2009.
That was the same year that the Ospreys advanced to the Division III final.
All of the titles have come during the 28-year coaching tenure of Gerry Matthews, who was selected the NJAC Coach of the Year for the ninth time on Wednesday.
The Ospreys split with William Paterson during the regular season. The Pioneers handed Stockton its first loss, 74-72 on Dec. 4 in Wayne. The Ospreys topped William Paterson 81-57 on Jan. 25 in Galloway.
"I think the guys are feeling better than the coaches right now," Matthews said. "The kids probably think they're invincible, but the coaches are scared. The other team is very good, and they shoot the ball very well. We've beaten them, and they've beaten us, so I guess this is the rubber match.
"This is our 14th conference final, and we've won six and lost seven. We'd like to even it off. If we don't get in foul trouble and shoot the ball well we should be OK."
Josh Blamon, a junior forward, leads the Ospreys with a 16.9 scoring average. Blamon topped Stockton with 24 points against Kean.
Stockton gets balanced scoring from Nnamdi Usuwa (11.1 points), Rameel Johnson (9.5), James Williams (9.2), Rich Suhr (9.0) and Kevin Johnson (8.9).
William Paterson is led by senior guard Javae King-Gilchrist, the NJAC Player of the Year.
King-Gilchrist averages 19.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 5 assists. Junior guard Sandy Burgos has a 20.2-point average, and led the Pioneers with 27 points against Rutgers-Newark.
William Paterson has 11 NJAC titles, the last being in 2012.
Contact Guy Gargan:
NJAC final: Richard Stockton (22-4)
vs. William Paterson (21-5)
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Stockton Sports Center, Galloway Township
Tickets: $5, $2 students, seniors and children.
Online: Streamed live at www.stocktonathletics.com