Gardner Leads Johns Hopkins Past 17th-Ranked NJCU, 72-56
• Score: Johns Hopkins-72, #17 New Jersey City-56
• Records: JHU (8-1) • NJCU (9-1)
• Location: Newport News, VA • Freeman Center
• The Short Story: Junior Michael Gardner scored a game and career-high 30 points to lead the Johns Hopkins men’s basketball team to a 72-56 win over 17th-ranked and previously unbeaten New Jersey City Friday afternoon.
How it Happened
• NJCU cut Hopkins’ lead to eight with a five-point burst midway through the second half. Gardner ended the spurt with a bucket from downtown, to spark a 17-2 run that spanned nearly six minutes and all but sealed the win. He did the bulk of the damage during the Blue Jays’ run, draining four three-pointers, including three straight. His eighth and final three of the game came with 5:44 to play and staked Hopkins to a 63-40 lead.
• The teams traded blows early and the Blue Jays led 16-15 at the 12:04-mark after five straight points from the Gothic Knights’ James Julius. Gardner ended a five-minute scoring drought for Hopkins with a three-pointer with 8:12 to play. That kick-started a 10-2 run for the Jays that saw their lead grow to nine with 5:35 to play in the half.
• NJCU responded with seven unanswered points to pull within two at the 2:17-mark. Junior Noah Ralby ended the run with a pull-up jumper in the paint at 1:53 to double Hopkins’ lead at 28-24. On back-to-back possessions, Gardner went 1-of-2 from the line and the lead was six. But a Julius layup with 1:04 to play made it a 30-26 game at the break.
• The Blue Jays opened the half with a 7-2 run to push out to a nine-point lead just 1:48 in. Freshman Conner Delaney capped the run when he drove the paint and laid in a pair. The Knights answered with a 5-2 burst to pull within six, 39-33, with 14:56 to play.
• Freshman Joey Kern and junior Kabir Suri then combined for seven straight points to push the Blue Jays’ lead to 13 at the 13:27-mark. Lavrone Green responded with five unanswered points for the Gothic Knights to slice the deficit to eight less than a minute later.
What it Means
• Hopkins improves to 8-1 on the season, its best start since the 2006-07 squad started out 9-0. Today’s meeting was the first-ever between the Blue Jays and the Gothic Knights.
• Today’s win over 17th-ranked NJCU is Hopkins’ first over a ranked opponent since a 70-52 win over 16th-ranked Swarthmore on January 12, 2017. It is the Blue Jays’ first win over a ranked team away from Goldfarb Gym since February 4, 2015.
Inside the Box Score
• Gardner’s 30 points were the most by a Blue Jay since Jimmy Hammer poured in 36 versus Moravian on November 15, 2013. He went 10-of-20 from the field, including 8-of-12 from three, while also grabbing seven rebounds.
• Kern punched up 17 points, with 15 of those coming from three-point, to match his career high. He also handed out three assists. Delaney just missed a double-double with 15 points and a career and game-best eight rebounds. He also dished three helpers and grabbed three steals.
• Green was the only Gothic Knight to finish in double figures with a team-high 10 points. Brutus finished with nine points and a team-best six boards.
• Sam Toney, who was averaging over 21 points per game entering the night, was held to just five. In fact, the Blue Jays held the Knights 24 points below their season average (80.1 ppg).
For the Record
• Gardner tied the school record, along with the Captains Shootout and Freeman Center records, for three-pointers in a game with his eight. It is the second time this season that he has tied the JHU record, as he also had eight triples in the win at Kean on November 27. His 30 points were also just four shy of the Captains Shootout Tournament record.
• Hopkins will take on host Christopher Newport in the championship game on Saturday. Tip-off at the Freeman Center is slated for 6:00 pm.