Hanging A “W” On NJIT

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New Jersey College Ends 51 Game Losing Streak

Imagine if you are a basketball player and your team is in the middle of a long losing streak. You know that the next win will come soon, after all nobody loses all of their games.

basketballWell, if you have the misfortune of playing for the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Highlanders, then you know what losing is all about. Going into this season the Highlanders had only five wins in two seasons of playing on the Division 1 level and all of those wins happened the first year. Yes, NJIT had the dubious distinction of losing every game for the 2007-2008 season and ended up starting the 2008-2009 season with an 0-18 record.

Playing as an independent, NJIT has to find its opponents where they can. Fortunately, the college basketball season is so long that scheduling games isn’t all that difficult. But, when you’re a young team looking to break a losing streak spanning three seasons, then you want to at least schedule games against teams that are beatable.

Teams like the Stony Brook Seahawks, Longwood Lancers and Texas Pan-American Broncs can help your cause, while avoiding sure losses by scheduling games against Penn State, Rutgers and St.John’s should be something you’d want to to keep at a bare minimum.

To be fair, NJIT is in their third and final year of transitioning from the Division II level, therefore they are not officially a Division 1 team until next season. Still, their won-lost record is abysmal, the stuff that keeps recruits away.

On January 21st, the Highlanders tasted their first victory of the season by knocking off the Bryant Bulldogs at home, 61-51. After spotting the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead, the Highlanders scored the next five points to take the lead for good. Up 31-15 at halftime, NJIT kept Bryant at bay for the rest of the game to end their 51 game losing streak.

Only one player for the Highlanders has been on the team for every one of those defeats and that man is Dan Stonkus a 6’9″ center from Monmouth Junction, NJ. Stonkus played eleven minutes of the game, scored no points, so had no real effect on the final score. But, guard Jheryl Wilson of Irvington, NJ did by pumping in 26 points, an effort which ended the Highlanders’ 51 game losing streak.

Fortunately for NJIT, it is another New Jersey school which holds the all time record for consecutive losses  — 117 games — a distinction which belongs to Division III Rutgers-Camden. That school has the misfortune of not winning one game for almost five years from Jan. 22, 1992, to Jan. 9, 1997.

Alas, NJIT wasn’t able to piece together consecutive wins, promptly losing its next four games.

Fortunately, there are eight game remaining for the upstart team from Newark including a road trip to Rhode Island next Tuesday for a rematch with Bryant. Just one win for the rest of the season will keep NJIT establishing another mark of futility: losing thirty or more games in one season.

Adv. — Gloomy economic times can make you wonder if going back to school now is a wise choice. You’ll want to make sure that you have emergency income stashed away to help guide you through lean times as well as keeping your other costs, such as your home mortgage, under control while taking classes.

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