Men's Basketball Rallies to Capture MSU Tip-Off Tournament

Montclair, NJ (11/21/09) –  Senior guard Ken Dudley (Willingboro, NJ / Willingboro) finished with 15 points and six rebounds and was named the Most Valuable Player as Montclair State rallied from 17 down in the second half to capture the MSU Tip-Off Tournament with an 84-77 win over York College (NY) in the championship game at the Panzer Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore swingman Paul Siljee (Wayne, NJ / Wayne Valley) finished with 19 points and joined Dudley on the All-Tournament Team as the Red Hawks trailed for the first 43 minutes of the game before pulling out its second straight overtime contest. Senior Daniel McRae (Orange, NJ / Newark Tech) posted a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds for MSU (2-0).

Nicholas Hamilton-Lopez (Woodside, NY / Pfeiffer University) finished with a game-high 28 points while Marcel Esonwune (Lagos, Nigeria / Marist Brothers) recorded an outstanding game with 19 points and 26 rebounds as York, which led by 10 with six minutes to play, fell to 1-2 on the year.

In the consolation game, Maxwell Dubois (Hollywood, FL / Dubois) recorded 26 points and 15 rebounds as Hunter (1-2) outlasted Eastern University (1-3) in double-overtime, 83-79. Martin Soaries (South Brunswick, NJ / South Brunswick) had 27 points for the Eagles.

Dudley, Siljee, Hamilton-Lopez, Esonwune, Dubois and Soaries were all selected to the All-Tournament Team.

Hamilton-Lopez scored 15 points in the first half, including three three-pointers as York led from tap to buzzer and held an 11-point advantage at the half, 35-24. The lead grew to 43-26 with 17:02 to play as Elijah Evelyn (St. Albans, NY / WM Dickson) sank a three pointer. Montclair would trim the lead back to five at 45-40, but the Cardinals restored the lead back to double digits several times, the last coming at 59-49 with 6:27 left on a three by Hamilton-Lopez.

Trailing by seven (65-58) with 3:36 left, MSU cut the lead to three as Rodney Freeney (Piscataway, NJ / Piscataway), who scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, hit a layup to make the score 65-62. York would answer with a bucket, but Tyrone Prewitt (Trenton, NJ / Trenton) converted a three-point play with 1:56 left as Montclair pulled within 67-65.

The Cardinals would miss their next two attempts and Montclair tied the game as McRae finished off a break with 1:18 left knotting the score at 67-67. Despite getting opportunities in the closing minute, neither could come up with a big shot and the game headed into overtime.

In the extra period, a Hamilton-Lopez three put York in front 70-67, but Siljee answered for Montclair with 4:20 left for a 70-70 tie. Ryan Exum (Bronx, NY / Truman) countered with a three for York as the Cardinals went back on top 73-70 with four minutes remaining. But Montclair State scored the next 11 points to take control of the game. McRae got it started with a layup just outside of three minutes left and Dudley gave MSU its first lead of the game with 2:09 to go as he hit from the free-throw line. Prewitt followed with a layup and Freeney scored on a layup with 63 ticks to go as MSU led 78-73. Montclair closed out the game hitting 5-of-6 at the line.

Prewitt finished with nine points and four rebounds off the bench for the Red Hawks. Exum had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists for York.

The consolation game provided plenty of thrills as well as Eastern erased an eight-point halftime deficit and forced the overtime as Soaries hit a jumper with 12 seconds left to tie the game at 61-61.

In the first OT, Hunter scored went up 66-62 as Rocco Rubino (Brooklyn, NY / Archbishop Molloy) scored on a layup with 4:08 left. Another Rubino layup made the score 68-65 but Eastern battled back ass Chris Meyers (Holmes, PA / Cardinal O’Hara) got a basket and Soaries put the Eagles in front 69-68 with 2:31 left on a layup. Soaires would give Eastern a 73-70 lead with 16 seconds left. Dubois got one back with six seconds left on a free throw. He missed the second and Rubino grabbed the rebound. He was fouled on the play and calmly went to the line and sank both as the game headed to another period.

The back-and-forth continued in the second OT as the game was tied twice, including a 77-77 deadlock with 1:06 left. But Anthony Uter (Jamaica, NY / August Martin) put Hunter in front with a layup and Rubino sank two foul shots with 16 seconds left for an 81-77 lead. Izzy Hoffman (Woodside, NY / Archbishop Molloy) added two more foul shots to put the game away for Hunter. Soaries basket with a second left provided the final margin.

Rubino finished with 22 points and six boards for Hunter while Uter had 10 and four rebounds off the bench. For Eastern, Paul Trusty (Hillsdale, NJ / Pascack Valley) added 13 points and eight rebounds while Derek Wright (Philadelphia, PA / Pennsbury) contributed 12 points and four boards. Kyle Malloy (Royersford, PA / Boyertown) posted nine points and 10 rebounds for the Eagles.