Men's Basketball Knocked Off by Rutgers-Newark, 73-66

Montclair, NJ (2/3/10) – Senior guard James Johnson (Summit, NJ / Summit) pumped in a game-high 24 points while Tim Smith (Mullica Hill, NJ / Camden Catholic) added 16 points as Rutgers-Newark remained in a tied for second place in the NJAC North Division with a 73-66 victory over Montclair State at the Panzer Athletic Center on Wednesday evening.

The Scarlet Raiders posted their third straight victory and fifth in their last six outings as they improved to 16-6 overall and more importantly 6-4 in the NJAC North. Rutgers-Newark is in a tie with Ramapo for second place. The top three teams from each division advance to the NJAC Tournament which begins on February 20.

Junior forward Sean Young (Scotch Plains, NJ / SP-Fanwood) had 15 points and four rebounds for Montclair State which fell to 10-11 overall, 3-7 in the division.

Johnson knocked down five of nine shots from 3-point range and made nine of 10 free throws as the Scarlet Raiders earned a split of their regular-season series against the Red Hawks. Johnson had 13 points during the decisive 19-4 run which staked the Raiders to a 66-56 lead with 3:40 remaining. He had a pair of treys while making seven of eight free throws during the spurt. 

A jumper by MSU’s Marquesse Smith (Teaneck, NJ / Bergen Tech) trimmed the Rutgers-Newark lead to 68-65 with 2:01 left, but a dunk by senior forward Phil Barnes on a feed from senior forward Deshawn Singleton gave the Raiders some breathing room with 1:38 left. 

Rodney Freeney (Piscataway, NJ / Piscataway) added 14 points while freshman David McDaniel (Plainfield, NJ / Rutgers Prep) added 13 points off the bench. Sophomore guard Ali Mix (East Orange, NJ / East Orange Campus) was the fourth player in double figures for Montclair State with 10 points and he also added three assists and three steals.

Both teams return to action on Saturday, February 6 with NJAC contests. Montclair State is on the road in Mahwah to take on Ramapo College at the Bradley Center beginning at 3:00 pm. Rutgers-Newark is home in the Golden Dome taking on New Jersey City University at 8:00 pm.