Men's Basketball Back on Winning Track; Red Hawks Beat CSI, 78-70

Montclair, NJ (12/11/09) –  Sophomore swingman Paul Siljee (Wayne, NJ / Wayne Valley) pumped in a career-best 23 points and lead four players in double figures as Montclair State got back on the winning track with a 78-70 victory over College of Staten Island in a non-conference men’s basketball contest at the Panzer Athletic Center on Friday evening.

Senior forward Daniel McRae (Orange, NJ / Newark Tech) posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds along with four blocked shots as the Red Hawks moved to 6-3 with their third win in the last four games.

Junior center Michael Ledbetter (Staten Island, NY / Susan Wagner) had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Dolphins, who fell to 3-5 overall with the loss.

Montclair State led 28-27 at the half, but lengthened the lead to eight points with 11:45 to go as David McDaniel (Plainfield, NJ / Rutgers Prep) drained a three-pointer from the left corner to make the score 45-37. Four straight free throws by senior John Byrne (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick) pushed the lead into double digits at 51-40 and a steal and driving layup by McRae gave the Red Hawks their largest lead at 53-40 with 9:38 to play.

MSU would maintain that advantage until the final two minutes when the Dolphins went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to six points. Ledbetter started it off with a layup and a three-point play by Ryan Hennessey (Staten Island, NY / St. Joseph’s by the Sea) made the score 66-58 before Christian Montervino (Ewing, NJ / Ewing) sank to foul shots to bring the Dolphins within 66-60 with 1:45 to go.

But Siljee answered with two from the charity stripe and McRae threw down a thunderous dunk with 1:08 left as Montclair went back up 70-60. A layup from Hennessey made it a six-point game with 10 ticks but Siljee hit two more as Montclair State closed out the game shooting 9-of-13 from the line.

Sophomore guard Ali Mix (East Orange, NJ / East Orange Campus) had 17 points while Byrne finished with 10 points off the bench. McDaniel collected seven points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Red Hawks, who shot 27-of-41 from the free-throw line for the game, including 10-of-12 by Siljee, who also grabbed four boards.

Montervino added 19 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals for CSI, which outrebounded MSU 45-38. Hennessey had 11 points while Dale Taranto (Staten Island, NY / St. Peter’s) chipped in with seven points and eight rebounds. Jordan Young (Wall, NJ / Wall) had eight points, five rebounds and three assists.

Montclair State returns to action on Tuesday, December 15 as the Red Hawks host the University of Scranton at the Panzer Athletic Center. The game, the first between the teams since the 1984 NCAA Division III Regional Tournament, will be the back end of a men’s-women’s doubleheader and is slated for 8:00 pm. The Dolphins are now off until December 29 when they host the CSI Tournament of Heroes.