Tariq Francis leads NJIT to wins over 1st- and 2nd-place teams in America East | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / June 21.
  • Tariq Francis leads NJIT to wins over 1st- and 2nd-place teams in America East

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    By DYLAN LUTEY

    Although it has been a rough season for NJIT (7-15, 3-7), freshman Tariq Francis has been a bright spot.

    The 6-0 guard has been playing some of his best basketball during the last 4 games, leading the Highlanders to a 3-1 record which includes knocking off the top two teams in the America East Conference: Vermont (19-6, 9-1) and UMass Lowell (16-7, 7-3).

    He is averaging 25 points and 7.25 rebounds per game while shooting 40% from deep during this stretch. On Feb. 8 he went for a career high 31 points to give Vermont their first conference loss of the season.

    “I feel great man,” Francis said post-game. “I feel like we are on the road to success and we [are] going to build off of this game and go get the next one.”

    Most impressively, Francis and the Highlanders were able to knock off both the Catamounts and the River Hawks without senior leader Kjell de Graaf, who was ruled out for the season with a knee injury before the game.

    “We keep working,” Francis said when asked about playing without de Graaf. “We work everyday at practice. We came out here and trusted each other. Everybody did their job and we got the victory. I’m proud of us.”

    On the season Francis is averaging 14.3 points per game which puts him in the top-15 for freshman to go along with 4.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.

    The Highlanders will go on the road to face UAlbany (11-13, 3-6) on Feb. 15.

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