A lone student standing behind the NJIT basket holding a sign during warm-ups that read, "0-28, but we think you’re great," said it all.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology men’s basketball team came into last Saturday’s game against the Wolverines in danger of becoming the worst team in Division I basketball history.
Although the Highlanders got on the board first with a couple of 3-pointers, Utah Valley took care of business in the 76-50 win.
"I’m very happy and very pleased," coach Dick Hunsaker said. "We’ve improved defensively throughout the course of the season."
While a 40-foot, 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half, along with 22 points from Ryan Toolson, propelled Utah Valley to the win, the story appeared to be the futile season of NJIT.
The improbable losing skid was enough to get highlights of the Wolverines win on ESPN’s Sportcenter.
Utah Valley’s Jordan Brady recorded a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The hot shooting in the first half by point guard Josh Olsen also paced the Wolverines. Olsen went 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc for 13 first half points.
"We came out and fought and competed," Hunsaker said. "I thought we did a good job of staying within ourselves. We kept the ball moving, which is indicative of our 22 assists."
With the loss, the Highlanders dropped their 29th game this season, a D-I record. NJIT came no closer than nine points to any team they faced.
Jim Casciano, who has been the coach of Highlanders for seven years, announced his resignation before the team’s final game.
Utah Valley won their eighth game in their last nine and improved to 14-14 on the season, giving the team the chance to finish above .500.
Hunsaker expressed his empathy for NJIT along with some of his players.
"They never gave up," Brady said. "I respect every one of them. They came to play every night."
While sports aren’t all about winning, losing sure gets old. Just ask the Miami Dolphins or the Miami Heat. But unfortunately, collegiate sports are more about business than just having fun.
So, Casciano will move on and find a new job, and his players will wait until next season to break a 33-game losing streak.