Montclair, NJ (2/20/08) – Freshman guard James Williams (Englewood, NJ / Dwight Morrow)
scored 20 points and pulled down six rebounds as Montclair State locked
up a spot in the NJAC Tournament for the first time in three years with
a 73-59 win over New Jersey City University at Panzer Gymnasium on
Freshman guard Chris McCann (Sparta, NJ / Sparta) added 12 points while freshman Jon Georges (West Orange, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep)
registered eight points and eight rebounds as the Red Hawks moved to
15-9 on the season with their third straight victory. The triumph also
put MSU’s conference mark at 8-4 in the North Division as the Red Hawks
remain tied with Ramapo for second place in the division. Montclair and Ramapo will meet on Saturday, February 23 at the Bradley Center in Mahwah, NJ
with the victor earning second place and a first-round home game in the
NJAC Tournament which gets underway on Tuesday, February 26.
The berth in the NJAC Tournament will be MSU’s first since 2005 when it fell to Rutgers-Newark in the opening round
The win by MSU also gave head coach Ted Fiore is his 300th career victory. Fiore, now in his 10th season with the Red Hawks, is 149-95 in his tenure at Montclair State after posting a 151-110 mark in nine seasons at St. Peter’s College.
Sophomore guard Josh Lopez (Jersey City, NJ / St. Mary’s) had 15 points off the bench for New Jersey City University,
which was eliminated from the NJAC Tournament race with the loss. The
Gothic Knights will miss the league’s tournament for just the third
time since 1993. NJCU closes out their
regular-season at 14-11 overall, 6-7 in the NJAC North. NJCU is
eligible for a berth in the ECAC Tournament, which begins on Wednesday,
MSU led 35-23 at halftime, but New Jersey City
began the half with a 15-3 run to tie the game at 38-38 on a
three-pointer by Lopez with 14:03 to play. NJCU would take a 51-46 lead
with 8:29 left as Lopez sank all three free-throw attempts after being
fouled on a shot behind the arc, but Montclair countered with an 8-0
run to take the lead for good. Williams began the run with a jumper and
Ken Dudley (Willingboro, NJ / Burlington Tech) tied the game at 51-51 with a three-pointer. Williams added another jumper and John Byrne (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick) sank on foul shot as Montclair went up 54-51 with 5:53 to play.
A driving layup by Kevin Tucker (Jersey City, NJ / Ferris)
brought NJCU within a point (54-53), but McCann drained a three-pointer
to ignite an 11-0 run by the Red Hawks that was capped by Byrne's
jumper with 2:16 to go that made the score 65-53. The Gothic Knights
would only get as close as six, 65-59 with 1:01 left.
Dudley finished with nine points while Ryan Washington (Edison, NJ / JP Stevens) added six points and seven rebounds.
Tucker had 11 points and eight rebounds for NJCU while All-America guard Dana John (Hillside, NJ / Pocono Mountain East (PA)) and Marques Hill (Hillside, NJ/Hillside) each collected nine points.