TCNJ Magazine Spring 2020

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18 The College of New Jersey Magazine P R A I R I E S P O R T S What a season! Home court serves up hoop dreams for the Lions. WHEN THE CLOCK HIT ZERO in the 2020 New Jersey Athletics Conference Men's Basketball Championship final, guard Randall Walko '20 knew it was a season he'd never forget. Walko and his teammates defeated Stockton University 75-60 to win TCNJ's first NJAC title and trip to the NCAA tournament since 1998. The Lions continued with a first-round tourney victory before ending their banner season in the second. The team struggled early in the season, but won 15 of their last 17 games and lost only one home game. Walko, an All-American scoring machine, says playing the championship in Packer Hall gave the team the confidence they needed to win. "We feed off the energy from the crowd," he says. Fans squeezed into the stands, filling Packer to capacity. "I looked down into hall and saw a line outside the door," says Head Coach Matt Goldsmith. "I thought to myself, 'Wow, look what we have built here.'" The Lions are looking forward to a final hoopla this fall when they add their championship banner to the court. "This is nothing anyone can take away from us," says Walko. "It feels unreal to know we'll raise a banner in Packer Hall." —Sarah Voorhees '20

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