The Red Hawks (16-10), who are making their first conference tournament appearance since 2005, now advance to the semifinals where they will face local rival William Paterson in the semifinals on Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 pm in the WPU Rec Center in Wayne, NJ. It will be the third meeting between the teams this season with each gaining a victory, including a 69-61 triumph by Montclair State at William Paterson on February 13.
In addition to McCann and Williams, sophomore guard Ken Dudley (Willingboro, NJ/Burlington Tech) posted 10 points and seven rebounds. Forward John Byrne (East Brunswick, NJ/East Brunswick) scored 12 points, while center Ryan Washington (Edison, NJ/J.P. Stevens) compiled a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Forward Jon Georges (West Orange, NJ/St. Peter’s Prep) grabbed nine rebounds.
For the Profs, guard Michael Farrow (Whitesboro, NJ/Middle Twp.) recorded a game-high 19 points. Forward Matt Byrnes (Mays Landing, NJ/Oakcrest) posted 14 points to finish his career with 1,988 in 103 games. Forward Dwayne Reevey (Fair Haven, NJ/Rumson-Fair Haven) pulled down a career best 15 rebounds, scored nine points and dished six assists. Forward Rahim Shiver (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill E.) contributed with eight points and nine boards off the bench.
The Red Hawks led 42-31 at the intermission. Rowan cut the deficit to seven points (42-35) following a layup and a free throw by Farrow at 18:54. Montclair State scored the next 11 points to go up by 18 (53-35) at 16:22. McCann had five points in the run while Dudley recorded three and Washington.
Two straight three-pointers by guard Aaron Spellman (Pine Hill, NJ/St. Joseph’s (Hammonton)) (16:09) and Farrow (14:42) cut the deficit to 12 (53-41). Reevey’s layup at 10:54 pulled the Profs within 13 (60-47). Montclair State got two free throws by McCann (9:25) and a jumper by Williams (9:21) for a 17 point advantage (64-47).
The Red Hawks led by 20 (75-55) at 4:15. Georges’ layup with 2:36 left to play put Montclair State ahead, 77-61. The Profs had a 9-0 run to come within seven points (77-70) with 1:11 remaining. Forward Tim Cook (Glassboro, NJ/Glassboro) had four points, while Farrow, Reevey and Spellman each added two. Cook’s layup with 29 seconds on the clock made the score 79-72. Dudley and forward Carlos Pena (Clifton, NJ/Clifton) made two foul shots apiece at 00:24 and 00:15 to seal the victory.
In the first half, the game was tied 7-7 after a layup by Montclair State guard Tom Bonard (Westfield, NJ/Westfield) at 16:48. The Red Hawks had a 16-3 run over the next 4:54 to lead by 13 (23-10). McCann nailed three three-pointers and a foul shot, Williams had a jumper and two free throws and Pena hit a jump shot. Byrnes’ three-pointer at 5:59 brought the Profs within five (29-24). Montclair State closed out the half with an 18-7 surge. McCann led all first half scorers with 13 points and Williams had 10. Byrnes posted 12 points for Rowan.
Montclair State won both meetings against Rowan this season, including an 82-70 win over the Profs at Panzer Gymnasium on February 9. MSU also improved to 3-1 against Rowan in the NJAC Tournament as the teams met in the conference postseason for the first time since MSU's 63-61 upset of the Profs in 1995.