Montclair, NJ (1/5/11) – The Kean University men's basketball team scored the first 21 points of the game en-route to defeating Montclair State University, 75-63, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference match-up on Saturday afternoon.
Senior forward Jonathan Jones finished with game-highs of 27 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and three steals, as the Cougars (10-4, 4-0 NJAC) won their 10th game of the season and handed Montclair State (12-3, 2-1 NJAC) their first conference loss. The Red Hawks were led by senior guard Rodney Freeney (Piscataway, NJ / Piscataway), who finished with a team-high 15 points.
The Cougar victory was also Kean's first victory over Montclair State since the 2005-06 season.
Kean opened the game with 21 unanswered points through the first nine minutes of the game and opened up a 26-1 lead following a three-pointer by freshman Tim Steward with 7:11 remaining in the half. Six different Cougars scored in the spurt, with four different players scoring five points apiece, while the Cougar defense forced Montclair State to miss their first 16 shots from the floor.
The Red Hawks first got on the board with a free throw from junior forward Andrew August (Bridgewater, NJ / Bridgewater-Raritan) midway through the half, before knocking down their first field goal when senior forward Tyrone Prewitt (Trenton, NJ / Trenton) had a lay-up with less than seven minutes remaining.
A three-pointer by sophomore guard A.J. Larkin (Passaic, NJ / St. Mary's) capped a 13-1 run for the Red Hawks, as they trimmed the lead to 14 points at 31-17 with 2:13 remaining. However, Jones had a lay-up and found freshman guard Andrew Kirey for a three-pointer with two seconds remaining to extend the lead back to 21 points at 38-17 at the break.
Jones had already recorded his 14th double-double in as many games this season in the first half alone, as he had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Cougars. Kirey chipped in with eight points and two assists.
In the second half, the Cougars maintained a comfortable advantage and extended the lead back out to 25 points at 47-22 following a lay-up by junior Rob Lewis with 13:07 remaining.
The Red Hawks trimmed the Cougar lead to 12 points at 62-50 following a 28-12 run, however the Cougars pushed the lead back out to 17 points, before a Freeney three-pointer in the final minute put the final margin back at 12 points.
For the game, Jones knocked down 10-of-13 shots from the floor and 7-of-10 from the foul line.
Lewis and sophomore Diego Gutierrez each finished with 10 points apiece for the Cougars, while Kirey added eight points and four assists.
For Montclair State, Prewitt added 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Montclair goes right back to work on Monday, January 10 with another NJAC contest as the Red Hawks host Ramapo College at the Panzer Athletic Center at 7:00 pm.