Men's Basketball Falls at Ramapo, 75-73

Mahwah, NJ (2/23/08) – Freshman guard James Williams (Englewood, NJ / Dwight Morrow) posted his third 20-point game in the last four outings as he scored 22 however Montclair State had its three-game winning streak snapped with a 75-73 loss at Ramapo College on Saturday afternoon.

The loss denied a chance for MSU (15-10) to finish second in the NJAC North Division and earn a first-round home game in the NJAC Tournament which gets underway on Tuesday, February 26. The Red Hawks, who were 8-5 in league play, will now head to Rowan University to take on the Profs beginning at 7:00 pm when the conference tournament begins. It will be Montclair's first appearance in the NJAC Tournament since 2005.

The lead changed four times in the opening five and a half minutes before the Roadrunners went on a mini 5-0 run to grab a 15-10 lead with 13:38 on the clock.  Senior Jamall Jenkins (New Brunswick, NJ) hit a jumper to spark the lead and Williams hit a jumper 30 seconds later to halt the run.  Rookie Ahmad Hassan (Edgewater, NJ) hit three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt from behind the arc to give Ramapo a six point, 18-12, edge at 12:55. 

MSU chipped away on Ramapo’s lead to come within two with a jumper from Ken Dudley (Willingboro, NJ / Burlington Tech) before Ramapo’s Omar Alston (Carteret, NJ) completed an and-one play to go ahead, 21-16 with under ten minutes to play in the half.  The Roadrunners held the slight edge until 1:40 to go in the half when Carlos Pena (Clifton, NJ / Clifton) hit a jumper to give the Red Hawks a 29-28 lead.  Mike Hern (Hamburg, NJ / Wallkill Valley) hit a free throw to go up two and Assad Shaakir (Newark, NJ) hit a jump shot to tie the game at 30 with 44 ticks on the clock.  Shaakir put away his free throw attempt, which was awarded after he was fouled on the play, to head into the locker room, 31-30 over MSU. 

Shaakir led the Roadrunners with 14 first half points and Alston added nine.  The team combined for ten field goals on 25 attempts hitting 40% of their shots.  MSU went 12-28 (43%) behind four baskets from Williams for 11 points.  Dudley and Pena each recorded seven points for the Red Hawks. 

The Roadrunners held a slight edge in the opening minutes of the second half until Williams drained three-pointer to take a one-point lead with 16:23 to play.  Tom Bonard (Westfield, NJ / Westfield) followed with a three of his own to go up four, 41-37.  The teams traded baskets over the next four minutes before Hassan and Tim Wesley (Jersey City, NJ) hit back-to-back three-pointers to take a 56-54 lead at the 9:08 minute mark.  Ryan Washington (Edison, NJ / JP Stevens) tied the game at 56 and gave MSU a one-point lead with three free throws before Ramapo posted a 7-0 run sparked by a jumper from Desmond Sanders (Newark, NJ) to take a 63-57 lead with 6:31 to play.  Bonard cut it in half with a three-pointer at 6:17 and Williams hit the back end of a two shot foul to come within two. 

The sixth tie of the game came with just under four minutes to play, when Pena hit two free throws to knot the game at 65.  Shaakir netted two points, Alston added two, and Shaakir again sunk a two-point play putting together a 6-0 Roadrunner run.  With the Roadrunners up six, 71-65, with 1:20 to play, MSU’s Williams hit a three-pointer to close the gap to three.  Sanders put in two free throws and MSU sprinted down the court again sinking another two to trail, 73-70 with only 17 seconds on the clock.  Sanders again hit two free throws and a three-pointer from Pena put the Red Hawks within two with six seconds to go.  The Roadrunners missed two attempts at free throws and Chris McCann (Sparta, NJ / Sparta) chucked up a final shot at the buzzer that fell short giving Ramapo the 75-73 victory. 

Pena and Dudley contributed 18 and 13 respectively for the Red Hawks.  Williams and Dudley each dished out four assists while Bonard grabbed a team high three steals.