Men's Basketball Tops NJCU for Third Straight, 77-66

Montclair, NJ (12/03/08) – Sophomore guard James Williams (Englewood, NJ / Dwight Morrow) scored a season-high 26 points while freshman backcourt mate Ali Mix East Orange, NJ / East Orange Campus) added 13 off the bench as Montclair State won its third straight with a 77-66 win over New Jersey City in the New Jersey Athletic Conference opener for both teams at the MSU Student Recreation Center on Wednesday evening.

Junior forward Daniel McRae (Orange, NJ / Newark Tech) collected 12 points, six rebounds, four blocks and six steals as the Red Hawks squared their record at 3-3 overall.

Freshma forward Rashawn Smalls ( Jersey City, NJ / Dickinson) had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Gothic Knights, who were coming off a 10-day layoff. NJCU (1-3 overall, 0-1 NJAC) last played on November 22.

Williams scored 16 of his 26 points in the first half as Montclair led 35-24 at halftime. Tied at 15-15 with 11 minutes left in the opening period, Montclair went on a 9-0 run to take control of the game. Ken Dudley ( Willingboro, NJ / Burlington Tech) put MSU ahead for good with a free throw and Williams followed with a basket for an 18-15 advantage. McRae connected from in close and Williams followed with four straight, including two from the line as MSU took a 24-15 lead with 7:58 to play before intermission.

A three-pointer by Williams and two free throws by Jon Georges ( West Orange, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep) helped Montclair build its largest lead at 58-38 with 8:35 remaining. The Gothic Knights slice that deficit down to 12 with just over five minutes remaining as Taquan Abdullah (Kenilworth, NJ / David Brearley) sank two foul shots. But Richard Brown ( Newark, NJ / Newark Tech) converted a three-point play and McRae finished off a break as the Red Hawks restored the lead to 71-54 with 4:21 left.

Brown finished with nine points and six rebounds, while Georges collected eight points as two rebounds as MSU overcame a rough night at the free-throw line. The Red Hawks were 25-of-43 from the charity stripe (58 percent), including 12-of-20 in the second half. Montclair shot 46 percent (25-of-54) from the floor.

Abdullah added 12 points and six rebounds for NJCU which got eight points from Josh Lopez ( Jersey City, NJ / St. Mary’s ( Jersey City)). Freshman Farrakahn Wells ( Newark, NJ / West Side) chipped in with nine points, six rebounds and three blocked shots as NJCU finished the game 22-of-47 from the field (47 percent) but just 4-of-13 from behind the arc. The Gothic Knights also committed 31 turnovers.

Both teams return to action on Saturday, December 6 with home NJAC contests. Montclair State faces The College of New Jersey at the MSU Student Recreation Center at 3:00 pm.