Newark, NJ (2/12/11) – Despite a monster game from senior forward Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, Mass./Randolph), who finished with 20 points and 20 rebounds, the Montclair State NJAC Tournament hopes took a big hit on Saturday as the Red Hawks fell to Rutgers-Newark in overtime, 65-60 at the Golden Dome.
The loss dropped MSU to 11-12 overall this season, but more importantly 4-7 in the NJAC North Division race. The Red Hawks are currently in fourth-place in the division standings with two games remaining against New Jersey City University on Monday, February 14 in Jersey City and at home on Wednesday, February 16.
The top three teams from each division advance to the conference
tournament which gets underway on Saturday, February 19. Rutgers-Newark,
which clinched a berth with the victory, completed its league schedule
at 6-7 and sits a game in front of third-pace Ramapo (5-6), who closes
out its season with back-to-back games against No. 23 William Paterson
on Monday and Wednesday. Montclair would need for Ramapo to falter in
both contests while the Red Hawks would need victories in each of its
matchup with NJCU to earn a berth into the tournament.
Junior guard Jaime Ericson (Flemington, NJ/Hunterdon Central) added 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists for MSU while freshman guard Theresa Towns (Morristown, NJ/Morristown) dished off a game-high nine assists to go along with five points.
Jared Tactuk (Wayne, NJ / Wayne Valley) finished with eight rebounds, two assists and five steals for Rutgers-Newark while Jalessa Coleman (Pleasantville, NJ / Pleasantville) added seven rebounds, two assists and four steals. Kristen Venning (Clifton, NJ / Clifton)notched a double-double with 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals. The trio accounted for 57 of the Raiders’ 65 points.
Ericson posted 13 points as MSU constructed a 34-23 halftime edge which swelled to 42-26 on a 3-point jumper by Ayanbeku with 16:25 left. But Tactuk had a pair of treys and 12 total points during a 25-9 rally which knotted the score at 51-51 with 7:41 remaining.
An Ayanbeku jumper gave the Red Hawks a 57-54 lead with 3:11 left, but the Raiders forced overtime by shutting out MSU for the rest of the half. Venning made one of two free throws with 1:33 remaining before freshman guard Mercedes Glover (Burlington, NJ/Burlington Township) sank a pair from the charity line with 31 seconds left to level the score and sent the game into an extra session.