Montclair, N.J. (2/4/12) - Freshman forward Melissa Tobie (Elizabeth, N.J./Roselle Catholic) posted game-high totals of 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead Montclair State to a 58-51 victory over Rutgers University-Newark in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game Saturday afternoon at the Panzer Athletic Center.
It was Montclair State’s eighth win in its last nine games and the sixth in its last seven conference contests as the Red Hawks improved their record to 16-7 on the season and 6-5 in the NJAC. The victory was also big for MSU, which is currently in third place in the North Division, a game ahead of Ramapo College and a half-game back of the Scarlet Raiders. The top three teams from the division advance to the NJAC Tournament.
Tobie, a six-time NJAC Rookie of the Week honoree, had totals of 14 points and nine rebounds in the second half on her way to her third double-double of the season.
Rutgers-Newark, which snapped a two-game winning streak in dropping to 15-6 overall and 6-4 in conference play, led early in the game. The Scarlet Raiders saw their biggest lead at 9-6 with 16:43 remaining in the first half.
But the lead didn’t last very long. MSU ran off the next six straight points and continued to increase its margin to 10 points at 31-21 with 1:51 to play before going into halftime with a nine-point cushion.
The Red Hawks never lost the lead in the second half, despite a couple of challenges by the Scarlet Raiders. Rutgers-Newark, despite shooting just 30.2 percent from the field and 45.8 from the foul line for the game, closed the deficit to within five points three times in the period. The closest was at 44-41 with 10:34 and the last was at 51-47 with 4:27 left.
Montclair State then closed out the game by scoring seven of the last 11 points to seal the victory.
Junior forward Taylor Jeffers (Franklin Township, N.J./Franklin) and freshman guard Janitza Aquino (Kearny, N.J./Kearny) scored 12 points apiece in reserve roles.
Freshman forward Jade Howard (Sicklerville, N.J./St. Joseph’s - Hammonton) topped Rutgers-Newark with 15 points with senior guard Brittany Smith collecting 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams resume play on Wednesday when Montclair State hosts New Jersey City University while Rutgers University-Newark is home to William Paterson University in conference action.