Senior Richard Brown (Newark, NJ / Newark Tech) finished with 13 points as the Red Hawks improved to 11-4 overall, 4-1 in the NJAC North Division with their 11 th win in their last 12 outings.
Junior guard James Johnson (Summit, NJ / Summit) recorded a game-high 18 points, including four three-pointers, and came within inches of winning the game for the Scarlet Raiders, who fell to 10-6 this season. Rutgers-Newark suffered their first league loss falling to 3-1 in the North Division.
In a contest that featured 11 ties and five lead changes, Rutgers-Newark nearly pulled off a comeback inside the final three minutes. Trailing 60-55 with 2:46 to go, junior Deshawn Singleton ( Passaic, NJ / Passaic) hit from in close to trim the lead to three with 2:32 remaining. Montclair State then committed two straight turnovers and Phil Barnes ( Middlesex, NJ / Middlesex) scored on a layup as the Scarlet Raiders pulled within a point at 60-52 with 1:18 showing.
On the next MSU possession, Rutgers-Newark came up with a big defensive effort and forced a wild shot as the shot clock was winding down. Barnes would snare the rebound and was fouled with 33 seconds left. The junior drained both attempts to put Rutgers-Newark in front 61-60. Williams would be fouled and calmly sank both hit free throws to put Montclair State back on top.
Rutgers-Newark got the final possession and just about threw its chances away as David Cherry’s ( Linden, NJ / Roselle Catholic) pass was taken away by Tom Bonard ( Westfield, NJ / Westfield). However, Bonard lost the handle going up the floor and De’Vion Manning ( Maplweood, NJ / St. Benedict’s Prep) scooped up the loose ball. He then fed Johnson with three second left. Johnson took two dribbles and got a solid look from 24 feet straight away, but his attempt clanked off the rim and MSU held on for the one-point victory.
Bonard finished with 11 points and five steals for MSU, which was playing its first home game in 35 days. Jon Georges ( West Orange, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep) added nine points and eight rebounds while Ken Dudley ( Willingboro, NJ / Burlington Tech) contributed eight points and five assists.
Singleton collected 13 points and six rebounds while Tim Smith ( Mullica Hill, NJ / Camden Catholic) added 12 points. Barnes had seven points and six rebounds while Manning added eight points and three steals.
Each team struggled at the free throw line as Montclair made just 18-of-27 attempts (67 percent) while Rutgers-Newark was 9-of-19 (47 percent) at the charity stripe.
Both teams return to action on Saturday with home contests. Montclair State takes on No. 14 Richard Stockton at 1:00 pm at the MSU Student Recreation Center. Rutgers-Newark is back at the Golden Dome for a 7:30 pm tilt with The College of New Jersey.