Montclair, NJ (1/26/08) – Senior center Chari’ Cooper (Paulsboro, NJ/Paulsboro) posted a double-double with 15 points and 20 rebounds as No. 7/ 8 Kean University put five players in double figures as the Cougars led from start to finish in a 76-63 victory over Montclair State in an NJAC inter-divisional matchup at Panzer Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore guard Cardiss Jackman (Tobyhanna, PA/Pocono Mountain West) had a game-high 18 points as Kean recorded its 12th straight victory and moved to 17-1 overall this season, 5-1 in the NJAC South. The win was also the Cougars’ first at Panzer Gym since 2003 as they have now won two straight against MSU.
Sophomore forward Catherine Cristino (Farmingdale, NJ / Colts Neck) had 15 points and four rebounds for Montclair State, which had its two-game winning streak snapped with the loss. The Red Hawks fell to 10-7 overall, 3-3 in the NJAC with just their second loss in their last seven contests.
Kean wasted little time as Ebony Jackson (Newark, NJ / Shabazz) scored on a layup five seconds into the contest and then added another on the Cougars next trip down the floor. Jackman added a jumper from the left side a minute later as Kean took a quick 6-0 lead. Montclair State trimmed the lead back to 6-4 on a pair of free throws by Marianne McGovern (Fair Lawn, NJ / Paramus Catholic), however Kean went on a 12-2 run over a four-minute span to build and 18-6 lead with 12:38 to go on a jumper by Melissa Beyruti (Union City, NJ / Union Hill).
The Red Hawks responded with a run of their own, chipping away at the deficit and getting within 26-22 with 5:38 left as Amy Bonk (Edison, NJ / JP Stevens) knocked down a jumper to cap a 16-8 run. Jackson answered for Kean and back-to-back baskets by Jackman and Angelica Bermudez (Belleville, NJ / St. Anthony) restored the lead to 32-22 with 3:09 to play and the Cougars took a 38-26 lead into the break.
In the second half, a Beyruti layup with 16:03 remaining gave Kean its largest lead of the contest 50-31, but the Red Hawks hung around and got within eight points with an 11-0 run. Freshman Kisandra Ayanbeku (Burlington, MA / Randolph) began the spurt with a short jumper and had six points, including the final two as MSU crept within 50-42 with 12:59 left. After the teams traded scores, Cooper finished off a break with a layup and Jackman drained a three-pointer as Kean went back up 57-44 and maintained the double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Jackson finished with 13 points and five assists for the Cougars, who held a tremendous 55-33 advantage on the points, including 27 offensive rebounds which were translated in to 19 second-chance points. Tiffany Patrick (Piscataway, NJ / Piscataway) and Beyruti each finished with 11 to round out the Cougars in double figures.
Jessica Garrabrant (Denville, NJ / Morris Knolls) had 13 points and seven rebounds to give 898 in her career, two shy of becoming just the sixth player in MSU history to record 900 career rebounds. Ayanbeku added nine points off the bench with Bonk and McGovern (six assists) each adding eight points.
Both teams are back in action on Wednesday, January 30 with home games. Montclair State hosts Ramapo at the Panzer Gymnasium beginning at 6:00 pm while Kean takes on Rowan University at the Hardwood Arena at the same time.