Men's Basketball's NJAC Playoff Push Takes Hit in Loss to NJCU on Senior Night, 76-59

Ken Spooner (#35), Michel Walker (middle) and Andrew August (far right) with head coach Ted Fiore as the trio were honored on Senior Night prior to the start of the Red Hawks' contest with New Jersey City University

Box Score

Montclair, N.J. (2/8/12) – Junior forward Kaihrique Irick (Teaneck, N.J./Teaneck) scored 12 of his 21 points in the second half to lead five players in double figures as New Jersey City University defeated Montclair State University, 76-59, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game Wednesday evening at the Panzer Athletic Center.

New Jersey City, which won its third straight game to up its record to 17-5 and 7-4 in the conference, outscored Montclair State 28-11 over the final 14:16 to put the game away. Trailing 48-46, the Gothic Knights scored 10 of the next 12 points, including eight by Irick, to take a 56-50 lead with 11:50 remaining.

Two foul shots by MSU freshman guard James D’Angelo (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central) closed the deficit to four points at 56-52. But that would be as close as the Red Hawks got the rest of the way. NJCU continued to increase its margin, reaching double digits at 65-55 with 8:07 left. to advance to the postseason.

The loss spoiled Senior Day and a chance for a playoff spot in the NJAC Tournament for Montclair State, which lost its third straight game in falling to 16-8 on the season and 6-6 in the NJAC. Currently in last place in the North Division, a half game behind Rutgers University-Newark and Ramapo College for the final playoff position, MSU needs to finish among the top three teams in the division

In the first NJCU came out fast and furious, scoring the game’s first five points and led 14-7 with 14:08 remaining in the first half.

But Montclair State came right back, scoring the next 11 points to take the lead at 18-14 with 10:26 to play in the opening period.

The Red Hawks, behind sophomore guard Daniel Singleton (Neptune, N.J./Neptune), who scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, held the lead until it changed hands three times over the final five minutes, the last one following a layup by Irick with five seconds left that gave NJCU a 38-37 halftime edge.

Junior guard Michael Morris (Burlington, N.J./Burlington City) scored 15 points in reserve with junior forward Walik Albright (jersey City, N.J./Create Charter) added 11 points and senior forward/center Taquan Abdullah (Kenilworth, N.J./David Brearley) and senior center Matt Washington (Hackensack, N.J./Paterson Catholic) contributed 10 points apiece for New jersey City.

The final home regular season contest for Montclair State, the Red Hawks honored its three seniors, forward Andrew August (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan), guard Michael Walker (Union, N.J./Union) and forward Ken Spooner (Rivervale, N.J./Pascack Valley) prior to the game for their contributions to the Red Hawk program. August, the conference’s leading scorer, contributed 16 points in the game.

Freshman guard Dwight Bostic (Roselle, N.J./Abraham Clark) also reached double figures, scoring 12 points for MSU.

Montclair State closes out the regular season next Wednesday at Ramapo College while New Jersey City travels to William Paterson University on Saturday in NJAC contests.