MVP McRae Leads MSU to Ninth Straight Win

Kissimmee, FL (1/4/09) – Junior forward Daniel McRae (Orange, NJ / Newark Tech) posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds to claim Most Valuable Player honors as Montclair State topped St. Joseph’s (NY), 70-64 in overtime to win the “B” bracket of the ECAC Holiday Festival at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon.

Sophomore Jon Georges (West Orange, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep) added 16 points, including two key baskets in the OT, while also pulling down seven rebounds as the Red Hawks recorded their ninth straight victory, improving to 9-3. The win streak it MSU’s longest since it began the 2002-03 campaign with 12 consecutive victories.

McRae and sophomore James Williams (Englewood, NJ / Dwight Morrow) combined for 16 points in the first half as Montclair held a 26-25 lead at halftime in the first 20 minutes that saw 14 lead changes.

The game continued that way through the early portion of the second half when MSU took a nine-point lead with a 12-2 run. McRae had seven of those points as Montclair State went up 40-31 with 14:13 left.

A McRae jumper with 7:30 left gave MSU its largest lead at 54-44, however, St. Joseph’s battled back and pulled within one as Chris Niblock converted a three-point play with 2:14 left to make the score 59-58. After several missed attempts by both teams, St. Joe’s got a golden opportunity to take the lead in the closing seconds as Alvin Bray went to the line for two free throws with seven ticks left on the board. But after making the first attempt, Bray missed on the second and the game headed into overtime.

In the extra period, Montclair jumped out with the first four points on buckets by McRae and Georges. A McRae free throw gave MSU a 64-61 lead, but David Acree drained a three points with 1:31 to play knotting the game for the fifth time at 64-64. Georges would give the Red Hawks the lead back on the next trip down the floor and he connected on a jumper and then had the biggest basket of the game with a putback with 21 seconds at MSU was up 68-64. Williams closed out the 6-0 game-ending run with two free throws as Montclair captured its second consecutive in-season tournament.

The two wins by MSU at the ECAC Holiday Festival were its first games since capturing the Messiah /Hampton Inn Tournament on December 12-13. McRae earned MVP honors in that tournament as well.

McRae added three blocked shots and two steals while Williams colleted 13 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Sean Young ( Scotch Plains, NJ / SP-Fanwood) had six points and eight rebounds while Ken Dudley ( Willingboro, NJ / Burlington Tech) chipped in with four points, four assists and eight boards.

Montclair State returns to action on Wednesday, January 7 as the Red Hawks head to the Bradley Center in Mahwah to face Ramapo College in an NJAC matchup at 7:30 pm. Montclair is currently 2-0 in conference play.