Men's Basketball Topped by Lehman in ECAC Semifinals

New York, NY (3/7/09) – The Montclair State bid for its first Eastern College Athletic Conference championship in nine years was derailed on Saturday as the top-seeded Red Hawks fell to No. 4 seed Lehman College in the Division III Metro Tournament semifinals, 74-63 at the APEX in the Bronx.

Sophomore forward Jon Georges ( West Orange, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep) posted another tremendous double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds as MSU concluded its season at 21-7. The Red Hawks, who won the title in 2000, were making their first appearance in the tournament since 2002.

Alen Redzic had 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots for Lehman, which will face No. 2 seed New York University in the championship game on Sunday, March 8 at the Coles Center beginning at 2:00 pm.

Lehman led the entire way as Duane Rhoden connected from behind the arc to start the game and a layup by Redzic made the score 10-4 with 15:15 left. A layup by MSU’s Daniel McRae (Orange, NJ / Newark Tech) got the Red Hawks within 10-8, however the Lightning (20-9) went on an 14-4 run over a six-minute span to take a 24-14 lead as Scottie Nimmons drained a three-pointer with 7:22 left before halftime.

Montclair struggled with its shooting touch in the first half as the Red Hawks connected on just 23 percent (7-of-31) from the field while Lehman was 15-of-37 (41 percent), including six three-pointers.

In the second half, Lehman boosted its lead to 48-28 in the first five minutes, but Montclair battled back, halving the deficit with 4:06 to play as Georges hit the first of two foul shots. But Nimmons countered with five points and Redzic’s back-to-back jumper helped restore the Lehman lead to 71-54 as MSU only got a close as the final score.

McRae finished with nine points and matched Georges with 14 rebounds as MSU received seven points, six rebounds and three assists from freshman Ali Mix ( East Orange, NJ / East Orange Campus). Junior guard Ken Dudley ( Willingboro, NJ / Burlington Tech) added six points and six rebounds.

Montclair State’s 21 wins were the most by the Red Hawks since the 2002-2003 campaign and just the eighth time that MSU has won 20-plus games in a season. Three of those seasons have come under head coach Ted Fiore, who guided the team to the NJAC North Division title as MSU went 11-2 in conference play and won two in-season tournaments (Messiah / Hampton Inn Tournament and the ECAC Holiday Festival in Orlando, FL).