Islamorada, FL (1/2/11) - Sophomore forward Taylor Jeffers (Franklin Township, NJ / Franklin) scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds while freshman Sara Kelley (Newtown, CT / Newtown) added 13 points off the bench as Montclair State completed its Key Largo Classic appearance with an 81-61 victory over Simmons College at Coral Shores High School on Sunday evening.
Senior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, MA / Randolph) collected 13 points and four rebounds as the Red Hawks evened their record at 6-6 overall with their second straight victory.
Montclair trailed a good portion of the first half and fell behind 29-24 with 4:10 to play before closing out the half with a 15-2 run to take an eight-points halftime lead. The Red Hawks scored 13 straight points as Michelle Montagna (New Providence, NJ / New Providence) put back a miss and Ayanbeku followed with four straight points to give Montclair a 30-29 lead with 3:01 left. Colleen Kelly (Rockaway, NJ / Morris Hills) connected on a short jumper and a three-pointer by Ayanbeku from the top of the key gave MSU a 37-31 lead with 39 ticks remaining before halftime.
Jeffers added two points on a layup and after a Simmons basket, Ayanbeku drove the lane for a layup with 13 seconds left as Montclair State led 39-31 at the break.
The Sharks would trim the lead to seven points early in the second half, however Montclair went on a 14-0 run to put the game out of reach. Kelley capped the spurt with a three-pointer as Montclair State led 55-34 with 14:43 to play.
Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) had 10 points for Montclair State while Kelly and Montagna each contributed eight points. Kelly registered three blocks while Montagna dished out six assists. Devin Feeney (Whippany, NJ / Whippany Park) had six points and five rebounds.
The Red Hawks got scoring contributions from 11 different players and outscored Simmons, 36-13 in bench points as MSU turned 27 turnovers by the Sharks into 23 points.
Montclair State returns home to New Jersey on Tuesday and resumes its schedule on Thursday, January 6 as its resumes New Jersey Athletic Conference play. MSU, currently 1-1 in the NJAC, hosts Ramapo College at the Panzer Athletic Center beginning at 6:00 pm.