Montclair State University men’s basketball team opened up a doubleheader against Rutgers University-Camden that featured a men’s and women’s game. Montclair State would convincingly win both games.
The men’s game was particularly impressive as the Red Hawks won by a powerful score of 94-62. This win continues a four-game win streak against Rutgers-Camden and improves the team’s record to a perfect 6-0.
The Red Hawks opened the game energetically and on fire from behind the arc, hitting four straight threes to open up the game. However, Rutgers-Camden was hanging tough through the first five minutes. Montclair State then began to press full court which saw a giant momentum swing for the Red Hawks.
Rutgers-Camden could not keep up with the press which allowed Montclair State to build a comfortable lead. Senior forward Steven Breeman described the importance of playing like this.
“It’s very important for us to keep playing fast,” Breeman said. “We practice playing fast every day. We press each other every single day. What I like to fall back on is the depth of our team. One through 20 we probably have the most depth of any team in the country, so we like to use that to our advantage and play hard every single day. Just a next-man-up mentality. If somebody is tired or somebody needs a break because we’re playing so fast, we have a lot of talented guys that can shift in and out, so we use that to our advantage.”
By halftime, Montclair State was leading 53-25. The overall team shooting was unbelievably efficient as they shot 63.3% from the field, 56.3% from three scoring 10 on 17 attempts and a perfect 100% from the line.
The defense was just as impressive, forcing turnover after turnover and not allowing Rutgers-Camden to get desirable shots. Montclair State also had an impressive 11 different players score in the first half. Breeman spoke on the importance of the three-ball.
“I think it’s really important,” Breeman said. “It’s also really important for us to share the ball. We share the ball at a high rate and that’s what’s able to get us good three-pointers. There’s a difference between good three-pointers and great three-pointers and today we got a lot of great three-pointers. When we drive and kick out, those are the best threes we can get. Those are the ones we try to get and that’s what we work on every single day.”
The Red Hawks cruised through the second half, never looking worried about giving up the lead. As the lead held steady and time wore down, some players that typically wouldn’t get as many minutes got an opportunity to shine. This allowed a staggering 16 individual players to score throughout the game.
“That’s remarkable,” Breeman said. “Whenever you can get 16 guys to score in a game it’s a great day. I think it’s really important for the guys on the bench, who maybe don’t get an opportunity as often to get in the score column and get on the stat sheet. We’re like a family. We operate like a family, so getting everyone included is very important. It’s our identity and we’re going to keep building the same habits every day so even more people can contribute.”
Montclair State would win by a score of 94-62—a complete game that saw the Red Hawks play at their best. The win continues the team’s perfect start to the season, but the team knows now is not the time to get complacent.
“The mood around the team is that we’re still hungry,” Breeman said. “We’re hungry for more and every day we are coming in with that same hunger. But at the same time, we appreciate that we are 6-0. It’s a great start for us and we appreciate every single day. One of our core words is appreciate, so we appreciate everything, but we have to turn the page and focus on our next opponent.”
Montclair State’s next game is against William Paterson University on Dec. 7.