Strong First Half Propels Men's Basketball Past Kean, 75-61

Montclair, NJ (1/22/08) – Junior forward Carlos Pena (Clifton, NJ / Clifton) and freshman guard James Williams (Englewood, NJ / Dwight Morrow) each scored 14 points as Montclair State put four players in double figures as the Red Hawks knocked off Kean University, 75-61 in an NJAC inter-divisional matchup at Panzer Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore guard Ken Dudley (Willingboro, NJ / Willingboro) added 13 points for the Red Hawks, who improved to 10-8 overall, 3-3 in the NJAC North with their second straight over the Cougars. The win was also MSU’s first at home against Kean since a 59-38 victory on February 8, 2003.

Akinwande Oshodi (Florence, NJ / Florence), Jonathan Jones (Linden, NJ / Linden) and Lamar Wright (Galloway, NJ / Absegami) each had 10 points and five rebounds for Kean, which dropped its fourth game in the last five outings. The Cougars are now 6-12 overall, 1-5 in the conference’s South Division.

Kean grabbed an early 6-2 lead and built that advantage to seven points at 18-11 on a three-pointer by Oshodi with 10:25 to go. But Montclair State countered with a 9-0 run to take the lead for the first time. Jon Georges (West Orange, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep) began the run with a layup and Chris McCann’s (Sparta, NJ / Sparta) three-pointer gave MSU a 20-18 lead with 6:58 to go. Kean retook the lead again and was up 24-23 on Levar Tilly’s (Jersey City, NJ / St. Anthony) free throw, but again, Montclair answered, this time with a 22-6 run to close out the half as the Red Hawks took a 15-point lead into the locker room. Freshman Tom Bonard (Westfield, NJ / Westfield) had the big blow with a rare four-point play as he drained a long-three pointer from the left side while being fouled he then made the free throw as MSU led 45-30 at the break.

In the second half, a Williams three-pointer gave the Red Hawks their largest lead of the game at 58-32 with 12:32 to play, but the Cougars didn’t quit, trimming the lead back to 13 points thanks in part to a 22-9 run over the next seven minutes to pull within 67-54 on Tilly’s three-pointer. But Pena connected on a baseline jumper on Montclair’s ensuing possession and Ryan Washington (Edison, NJ / JP Stevens) converted a layup as Montclair went back up 71-54 with 4:04 left and never led by more than 12 the rest of the way.

Georges finished with 10 points and five rebounds for the Red Hawks, who shot 48 percent in the first half (14-of-29) and were 13-of-14 from the free throw line. The Red Hawks finished the game 25-of-32 (78 percent) from the charity stripe in the game and held a 41-33 edge on the boards. Williams also collected six assists and three steals.

Tilly finished with 10 points for Kean, which for nine points and four rebounds from Keith Williams (Jersey City, NJ / Create Charter).

Both teams are back in action on Wednesday, January 30 with home games. Montclair State hosts Ramapo at the Panzer Gymnasium beginning at 8:00 pm while Kean takes on Rowan University at the Hardwood Arena at the same time.