Men's Basketball Fights Back Scranton Rally, 61-57

Montclair, NJ (12/15/09) - Sophomore guard Ali Mix (East Orange, NJ / East Orange Campus) scored 16 points while David McDaniel (Plainfield, NJ / Rutgers Prep) and Daniel McRae (Orange, NJ / Newark Tech) pumped in 13 and 10 points, respectively as Montclair State won its second straight, holding back the University of Scranton, 61-57 at the Panzer Athletic Center on Tuesday evening.

Senior guard Ken Dudley (Willingboro, NJ / Burlington Tech) had five points and seven assists as the Red Hawks improved to 7-3 on the season knocking off the Royals (6-4) in the first meeting between the teams since the 1984 NCAA Division III Tournament.

Junior guard Zach Ashworth (Doylestown, PA / Central Bucks West) poured in a game-high 25 points for Scranton, which dropped its second straight game.

A six-point run to end the first half gave Scranton a 35-32 halftime lead however Montclair seized that back in the first minute of the second period. McDaniel converted a three-point play to knot the game at 35-35 and McRae sank two free throws as the Red Hawks went back on top 40 seconds in the half.

Eli Londo (Hamlin, PA / North Pocono) hit a jumper to force a tie at 37-37 before Montclair State scored nine of the next 10 points in the game to take the lead for good. McDaniel netted the first three and John Byrne (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick) drilled a three-pointer from the right corner for a 43-37 advantage. After a free throw by Dan O’Connell (Somers, NY / Kennedy Catholic), Mix hit from behind the arc as MSU built its largest lead at 46-38 with 13:32 left.

Scranton would cut the deficit down to two points twice, including 48-46 as Ashworth drove the lane for a layup with 8:40 to go. McRae would answer with a layup and Rodney Freeney (Piscataway, NJ / Piscataway) added another as the Red Hawks restored the lead to 52-46 with 6:27 to go.

Two foul shots by Ashworth pulled the Royals within 52-51 with 4:35 to play but again Montclair came up with key points. Dudley countered Ashworth with two free throws of his own and McRae put back a missed attempt as MSU led 56-51 with 3:28 remaining. Luke Hawk (Audubon, PA / Methacton) made two at the line with 1:19 to play making the score 58-55 but Mix extended the lead to two possessions with one free throw with 21 seconds left.  A Hawk layup with 14 ticks made it 60-57, but Paul Siljee (Wayne, NJ / Wayne Valley) made the back end of two shots for the final margin.

McRae grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots while McDaniel made three steals and added five caroms. Londo had eight points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and four steals for the Royals with Matt Swaback (Kingston, PA / Wyoming Seminary) added nine points and four rebounds. Travis Farrell (Middletown, NJ / Christian Brothers) had five points and eight rebounds.

Both teams are now off until the New Year and return to the court with home games on January 2. Montclair State hosts Centenary College at the Panzer Athletic Center at 2:00pm. Scranton will take on Hunter College in the second game of the PNC Bank Holiday Invitational at 7:30 pm.