Wayne, NJ (12/1/10) – Senior foward Sean Young (Scotch Plains, NJ / SP-Fanwood) collected 14 points and seven rebounds, including a key carom inside 10 seconds remaining as Montclair State held off William Paterson, 58-54 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference opener for both teams at the WPU Rec Center on Wednesday evening.
Junior forward Andrew August (Bridgewater, NJ / Bridgewater-Raritan) had 14 points and five rebounds as the Red Hawks posted their fourth straight victory, improving to 4-1 on the year, 1-0 in the NJAC.
The Red Hawks led by as many as 10 during the opening stanza and took a 29-23 advantage into halftime. Montclair State scored the first nine points of the second stanza for its largest lead of the contest, 38-23, with 16:19 left.
William Paterson would chip away at the lead getting the deficit to within one possession twice in the final 75 seconds.
Senior guard Gabriel Paul (Newark, N.J./Hillside) drew contact and finished a bucket in the lane with 1:14 to play, making it a 54-51 contest, but he could not convert the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play. After a miss by Rodney Freeney (Piscataway, NJ / Piscataway)and a defensive rebound by Paul at the other end of the floor, the Pioneers burned their final timeout with 37.6 seconds on the clock. Junior Nolan Hill (Edgewater, N.J./Bergen Catholic) ball-faked his man into the air, but his travel on the baseline gave the ball back to the Red Hawks less than 10 seconds later.
The Pioneers’ swarming defense forced a travel by A. J. Larkin (Passaic, NJ / St. Mary's (Rutherford)), switching the possession to William Paterson with 23.5 seconds to play. Paul elected to drive to the rim, but his shot was short, and Young pulled down the rebound and was fouled. He made both free throws for a 56-51 margin with 9.9 seconds left, and after a Paul Siljee (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Valley) three-pointer pulled William Paterson within two at 56-54 with 3.0 seconds on the clock, Freeney was fouled after the inbounds pass. He converted both attempts to snuff out the Pioneers’ comeback hopes with 1.8 seconds remaining.
Larkin finished with 11 points and three assists for MSU, which held a huge advantage at the free throw line in the game. The Red Hawks were 25-of-35 for the game (71 percent), including 16-of-21 over the final 20 minutes compared to William Paterson's 11-of-16 for the entire game.
Montclair State returns to action on Saturday, December 4 as they host Rutgers-Camden at the Panzer Athletic Center beginning at 1:00 pm.