As students were on winter break, the Montclair State men’s basketball team continued their season. The Red Hawks defeated Kean University 71-45 on Wednesday, Jan. 18 in the first game of the spring semester. Jaleel Christmon led the way with 14 points.
During the winter break, the Red Hawks went 3-2 in a span of five games, including a three-game win streak. Consistency has been an issue all season long. The Red Hawks have been trying to put together a string of consecutive wins, but, up to that point, had been trading wins and losses. The recent three-game winning streak was the first time the Red Hawks won three consecutive games all season.
Montclair State is 6-3 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), currently sitting in the fourth seed of the NJAC standings, placing them in the picture for the NJAC Playoffs. During the recent three-game winning streak, the Red Hawks defeated New Jersey City University (NJCU), the top seed of the NJAC last year, who are currently in the mix again for the top seed.
Senior forward Brandon Channer led the way with 13 points in the closely contested NJAC matchup against New Jersey City University (NJCU), in which the Red Hawks prevailed 48-46. Channer is the team’s leading scorer this season, averaging over 16 points per game.
As with any team, chemistry is a vital part of the offense and defense. Channer credits the team’s good chemistry as one main reason why the Red Hawks have been successful lately.
“Our chemistry with each other is so good off the court that when we get on the court, we instantly click and play hard for one another,” Channer said.
The Red Hawks will look forward to a schedule full of NJAC games throughout the rest of the season. They will face off against NJCU again on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Other key matchups include games against Rowan University, Stockton University and William Paterson University, all of which are within striking distance of the Red Hawks in the NJAC standings. The top six teams make the playoffs.
Montclair State is the best rebounding team in the conference. They rank first in offensive rebounds and second in defensive rebounds. One thing they would like to do more is have more playmaking on offense. They only rank ninth in assists. As the season reaches its climax, the team has the opportunity to show its true potential.
“We still have so much room for improvement with our defense and moving the ball more on offense,” Channer said, “but our best basketball is ahead of us.”