The Red Hawks were on the road Saturday as they paid a visit to Rowan University. Going into the game, Rowan had a 9-9 record on the season, which has not been much to write home about. It was a tough going early on for Montclair State University as they were 14 of 32 from the field in the first half after the Profs were able to take a six-point lead heading into break.
Rowan, during the first minutes of the game, was outplayed, similar to the last time these two schools met in Montclair earlier in the season on Dec. 9, 2017, when Montclair State wound up coming away with a 73-66 win. As bad as Rowan struggled early in the game, they were able to battle back and take their largest lead they would ever come across halfway through at 39-32. This was credited to the son of ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler, Ryan Legler, who came off the bench in the first half and registered six points. His play off the bench, along with the likes of Daron Curry and his 17 points, were the reason the Profs were able to battle back and keep it as close as they would.
However, going into the half, Montclair State slowed down and it looked like Rowan would be the fourth place team in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, rather than the Red Hawks.
At the break, Rowan was outrebounding Montclair State by three. This would remain in their favor for the rest of the game, but not the score. Myles Mitchell-White went into the half with six points, three assists and five rebounds with Jarrett Bogus leading the way with 10 points.
Like Montclair State has shown all year, their resiliency and composure have helped them stay in games along with the discipline of head coach Marlon Sears. With that said, the Red Hawks came storming out of the gate after halftime and went on a 22-3 run to turn the score in their favor at 59-46 with around 14 minutes left to play in the game.
Rowan, after having a terrific start to this game in the first half shooting 42 percent on field goals, would start the second half 1-11 from the field and would not record their second bucket until eight minutes into play. Montclair would go on to outscore Rowan 43-25 in the second half alone after being down by six heading into the break.
Mitchell-White had a stellar second half. He went on to have a season high 19 points on 7-14 from the field and 1-2 behind the three-point line. He also had six assists and eight rebounds on the day, that much closer to a triple-double. He was the Red Hawks’ playmaker along with his counterpart, Jovanni Chatham, who was 5-9 from the field with his 17 points. Bogus finished off his strong first half with seven more points after the break in action and recorded eight rebounds to go along with it.
Other impressions taken away from this game would have to be the play of freshman big man Kaan Yilmaz. Like in his game against Rutgers-Newark, he is a sizable mismatch every time the ball touches his hands in the post. It is not only his post-game, but also his ball court vision is impressive.
Several times he was able to be unselfish while backing down on the low block and hit the open man on cross-court passes. He finished with five assists on the day to go along with six points and nine rebounds. If he can start getting a heavy dosage of consistent minutes along with Eddie Emedoh, then this Red Hawks team will be exploiting matchups in the paint for the rest of the season.
Montclair State has been a very impressive team this season as compared to last year and improvement has shown for Sears and his Red Hawks. At this time last season they were only averaging a 68.3 points per game in contrast to this year where they are scoring 78 points per game.
Now, with down to five games left on the schedule, Montclair State will look to keep steering this ship in the right direction as they battle William Paterson University at home next Wednesday at 8 p.m. William Paterson is 6-7 in conference play on the season and would want nothing more than to ruin the Red Hawks’ chances at getting that top seed heading into the tournament.