The Montclair State men’s basketball season has come to an end. The Red Hawks lost to Rowan University, 81-69, on Saturday, Feb. 18 in the first round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament.
The Red Hawks made the NJAC tournament for the first time in three years. Montclair State ended the regular season with a 13-12 overall record and a 10-7 conference record to earn the 5th seed in the NJAC. It placed them in a matchup against the 4th seed Rowan University Profs – a team the Red Hawks had beaten twice during the regular season.
With the game in Glassboro, N.J. at Rowan University, the Profs had home-court advantage with a packed house full of ruckus Rowan fans.
Rowan confronted the Red Hawks with an aggressive full-court press quickly from the first inbound pass. It caused many early turnovers for Montclair State and mentally had an effect every time the Red Hawks inbounded the ball. Rowan’s full-court press became a thorn for the Red Hawks, but Montclair State managed to stay in the game during the first half and went in to halftime only down three points.
Jarrett Bogus and Brandon Channer led the way in the first half. Bogus was a presence down low and scored in the post on many turn around bank shots. Channer led the team down the court for many possessions. He was able to break the defensive press through individual dribbling and smart passes.
The second half was filled with turnovers for the Red Hawks. They kept the score close throughout much of the second half, but the Profs caught fire in the late stages of the game, eventually opening up a double digit lead. Profs’ forward Shawn Wilson scored 10 points in the second half, including a couple big shots. He took Channer to the post and muscled his way for a bucket. He went through the Montclair State defense for a spectacular acrobatic layup and even showed his outside range with a long three-pointer.
After a scoreless first half, Profs starting point guard Rob DePersia scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Profs on to the next round of the NJAC tournament. Fans were on their feet as Rowan University players swung their arms up to raise the crowd up out their seats. The Red Hawks battled for most of the game, but it wasn’t enough.
Montclair State will lose seniors, Daniel Ramis, Jaleel Christmon and Brandon Channer after this season, while the rest of the team will regroup and recruit for next season. Channer has been the best player for the Red Hawks for the past two seasons. The 6’5 forward averaged 16 points per game during his two years at Montclair State.
The 2017-2018 season will feature a new leader.