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Men’s Basketball Turning Heads in the NJAC Conference

by Corey Annan

The Montclair State University Red Hawks men’s basketball team came into the season with high expectations after a very successful 2017-2018 campaign and they certainly haven’t disappointed.

After coming up just short of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship a season ago, the Red Hawks have been eager to prove they are the best team in the conference. They currently sit at second place in the conference with a terrific 12-5 record, their best start since the 2010-2011 season.

The hot start to the season was highlighted by a signature blowout win over Ramapo College, 95-75. This was a game that nobody thought Montclair State had a chance of winning, considering Ramapo had come off a Final Four appearance and a conference championship a season ago.

The Red Hawks have also recorded impressive victories over conference rivals, such as New Jersey City University, Kean University and Rutgers University-Newark. They currently sit at 7-3 in NJAC games, and with a few more wins under their belt, they could potentially take control of the first seed heading into the postseason.

Defensively, Montclair State has been one of the better teams in the conference. They have only allowed 68.8 points per game this season, which sits them at third in the NJAC in fewest points allowed. More notably, the team allows the lowest opposing field goal percentage at 40 percent from the field.

Players, such as senior forward Jordan Robertson and junior guard Akbar Hoffman, have been some of Montclair State’s best defensive players so far. Robertson leads the team in blocks and is second in the conference in rebounds. Hoffman is currently in the top 15 in steals in the NJAC. Both players have arguably been one of the biggest reasons for Montclair State’s success on the defensive end.

Speaking of Hoffman, his breakout season has taken the offensive load off returning leading scorer, sophomore guard Myles Mitchell-White. They have easily been the best scoring duo in the NJAC, with averages of 16.6 and 15.5 points respectively. Both players are currently in the top 10 in the conference in scoring and will certainly be all-conference selections by the season’s end.

Montclair State will wrap up the season with five of their last eight games at home, including a huge conference matchup against Rowan University on Feb. 22 that could possibly decide the top seed in the conference tournament.

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