On Saturday, Jan. 30, the Red Hawks were defeated by the Ramapo Roadrunners at home by a final score of 81-64. Despite getting a strong effort and 19 points from junior guard Shaun Russell, the Red Hawks, who led at halftime, were unable to stop a ferocious second half attack by their opponent.
The Roadrunners were led by forward Thomas Bonacum, who scored a game-high 29 points, shooting 9-13 from the floor and 5-5 from three-point range. Christopher Moseley added 19 points on 8-12 shooting for Ramapo as well.
With the loss, the Red Hawks fell to 9-10 on the season and 5-7 in their conference. Ramapo improved to 13-7 and 9-4 in conference play with the victory.
“In the first half, we came out with a lot of intensity. I think we just gotta pick up from there,” Russell said. “Second half, they came out and hit a couple back to back threes and that kind of opened the game.”
The Red Hawks came out firing, but struggled shooting as the game went along. They attempted 34 three-pointers, connecting on only seven of them (20.6 percent). Ramapo, in contrast, shot 9-12 from three-point range and 8-9 from behind the arc in the second half.
Part of the Red Hawk’s shooting troubles came from the fact that Ramapo was in a tight 2-3 zone defensively, which forced the Red Hawks to shoot primarily jump shots.
“There were a couple of times we settled for threes, but at the end of the day, when the ball hits the middle and it kicks out, those are open threes,” first-year head coach Marlon Sears said. We gotta rise up and knock those down.”
“We just gotta focus in a little bit more,” said junior guard Brandon Channer. “We’ve got to make the extra efforts to be successful.”
Channer scored 16 points in 30 minutes for the Red Hawks.
Center Jaleel Christmon recorded a double-double for Montclair, scoring 14 points to go with 12 rebounds (five offensive). He shot 4-6 from the floor and 6-6 from the foul line.
“At the end of the day, you gotta take your hats off to them,” Sears said. “They really came in and shot the ball well in the second half.”
“We just gotta keep going,” Russell said. “It’s still a long season.”