Men's Hoops Tabbed No. 1 Seed for ECAC Tournament

Montclair, NJ (3/2/09) – The Montclair State men’s basketball team had its season extended on Monday as the Red Hawks were tabbed as the No. 1 seed for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Metro Tournament. MSU (20-6) will face New York Maritime (15-12) in an opening round game on Wednesday, March 4 at the MSU Student Recreation Center. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 pm.

The MSU-Maritime game is one of four opening-round contests on Wednesday. The winner will face either Lehman College or United States Merchant Marine Academy in the semifinals on Saturday, March 7. In the other first-round matchup, No. 2 seed New York University hosts seventh-seeded York College (NY) while Rutgers-Newark takes on Stevens. The championship game is slated for Sunday, March 8 at the site of the highest remaining seed.

This will be Montclair State’s sixth overall appearance in the ECAC Tournament and its first since 2002. MSU is 8-4 all time in the tournament and won the championship in 2000 after finishing as the runner-up the year before.

The Red Hawks enter the tournament at 20-6 overall. Montclair captured the NJAC North Division by virtue of its 11-2 conference mark during the regular season. MSU, which has won 20 games for the eighth time in program history, fell to Rutgers-Newark 58-57 in the NJAC Tournament semifinals on February 24. Sophomore guard James Williams ( Englewood, NJ / Dwight Morrow), an All-NJAC selection, is the leading scorer for Montclair averaging 11.8 points per game. Sophomore Jon Georges ( West Orange, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep), another All-Conference pick, averaged 9.0 points and 5.7 rebounds while junior Daniel McRae (Orange, NJ / Newark Tech) averaged 10.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game despite missing five contests. McRae also shot .603 from the field.

New York Maritime comes into the tournament after finishing third place in the Skyline Conference at 11-7 during the regular season. The Privateers lost to eventual conference champion St. Joseph’s (LI) in the semifinals of the league tournament, 84-71. Maritime is led by senior forward Tom Dougherty, who is averaging 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Junior guard Andre Cooper leads the team at 13.2 points per contest in addition to handing out 72 assists.

The teams have three common opponents – Berkeley, Farmingdale State and St. Joseph’s (LI). Montclair went a combined 3-1 against those foes picking up two victories over Berkeley. Montclair fell to Farmingdale State 72-60 in the Reading Classic in November and defeated St. Joseph’s (LI) 70-64 in overtime to win the ECAC Holiday Festival in Orlando, Florida in January. Maritime is 2-4 versus those teams. In addition to its win against Berkeley, the Privateers split with Farmingdale (84-73 win / 91-59 loss) and fell three times to St. Joseph’s, including the aforementioned game in the Skyline Conference Tournament.