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Montclair State Sweeps Rutgers-Camden

by Demsi Ramirez

On Saturday, Jan. 20, Montclair State University dominated Rutgers-Camden in a double header. The men’s basketball team prevailed 97-72 in the first game and the women’s team won 69-44.

Before the men’s game started, junior guard Mike Jackson was honored for scoring 1,000 points in his Montclair State basketball career.

“To achieve that goal was precious because I scored that in high school and I achieved it in college and [I am] the only one in my family,” Jackson said. “I honor that a lot and being behind Irving Callender and Steve Breeman who also scored 1,000…to be in that club is a fantastic and unbelievable thing to be in. But I’m always going to keep my high standard and level high and stay focused because the job not finished at all. We got Rutgers-Newark next and the 1,000 points is behind and I’m going to keep stacking up wins and moving forward.”

Sophomore guard Samar Abdullah, opened the scoring with a three-pointer. Abdullah scored 15 points, his sixth double-digit total of the year.

Sophomore guard Samar Abdullah launching a corner three. Markell Robinson | The Montclarion

Sophomore guard Samar Abdullah launching a corner three. Markell Robinson | The Montclarion

At the 14-minute mark in the first half, the Red Hawks went on a rapid offensive blitz, scoring nine points in a row, to take a 10-point lead. Rutgers-Camden, however, would close the gap to three points during the following three minutes, 19-16, but Montclair State rallied, led by five points from Jackson and a layup from freshman forward Ahmad Robertson, extending the advantage to ten at the half.

Freshman guard Ahmad Robertson attacking strong for the layup. Markell Robinson | The Montclarion

Freshman guard Ahmad Robertson attacking strong for the layup. Markell Robinson | The Montclarion

The Red Hawks would continue to frustrate and play stellar defense against Rutgers-Camden which would cause Rutgers-Camden to have a total of 29 turnovers.

Senior guard Keyon Pryce scored a layup with 7:15 left in the half to give the Red Hawks their largest lead so far, 34-19. Francisco Paulino, a senior center, made free throws two minutes later to extend their advantage to 17.

Paulino produced a crazy block with 2:39 remaining in the game, which enthralled the audience and set up a Jackson three. Montclair State was up as many as 22 in the first half. Heading into halftime it was 52-34.

Four minutes into the second half, Rutgers-Camden trimmed the lead to 13, and with 13:34 left, they were within 12. The next nine points were scored by Montclair State, with a basket from senior forward Amir Williams capping the run that made it 70-49.

For the remainder of the game, Montclair State maintained a lead of at least 18 and went on to win their third straight NJAC game.

Jackson scored 23 points to lead all scorers. Throughout his last three games, he has averaged 26 points per game.

“Coming in I woke up feeling good, came in I always get extra shots in, always stay in the gym, I always ask questions like going to the coach’s office and watching film,” Jackson said. “I live here in the gym, I live here in the gym. 23 points ain’t nothing for me, all of my work is going to show and me putting my work will show at the end of the day.”

Montclair State won with smothering defense which helped create easier offense. They shot 42% from the field and 42% from deep range. Twenty of the 29 turnovers forced by the Red Hawks came in the first half.

Next up for the Red Hawks is a trip to Rutgers-Newark for a chance at some revenge on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

In the second game of the double header, the Montclair State women’s basketball team faced off against Rutgers-Newark. Coming into the game the Red Hawks were on a three game losing streak. The Red Hawks came in with a purpose against Rutgers-Newark.

Montclair State scored the opening point with two free throws made by sophomore forward Isabella Orlando. The Red Hawks jumped out to a 12–4 lead right away. During the run, Orlando scored eight points. Montclair State led 19–14 at the half, but Rutgers–Camden got within five on a three-pointer with 1:24 left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Rutgers-Camden cut the gap to one before Montclair State reeled off five consecutive markers. A free throw from sophomore guard Shannon Hughes capped the rally. A free throw from graduate student Teresa Wolak late in the frame gave Montclair State a 36-27 halftime lead.

After exchanging baskets to start the quarter, Montclair State went on a 17-0 run to take control of the game. They forced 11 turnovers and only allowed two field goals for the next ten minutes. During the third quarter, the Red Haws shot an impressive 55.56% (10-of-18) from the field.

Junior guard Brianna Montajes believes communication played a big role in the win.

“It felt like we communicated more today and we were switching everything and everybody was active,” Montajes said.

In the fourth quarter, it was more of the same and during the last 5:42 of the game, the Red Hawks prevented Rutgers-Camden from making a shot.

The women’s team is set to be back in action on Wednesday as well against Rutgers-Newark.

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