The contest started off with both teams coming out on the floor with high intensity on the defensive end. Both defenses forced the opposing offense into difficult or contested shots early on. This was evident in the box score as neither team shot above 29 percent from three in the first half.
Senior Forward Jake Schalki Came out firing for Penn State Abington, as he scored eight of their first 15 points. Schalki’s size and ability to stretch the floor put the Red Hawks defense in tough positions on the perimeter and interior.
Midway through the first half, Montclair State implemented their signature press defense. This disrupted Abington’s offensive flow and forced them into turnovers. On the Offensive side of the ball, the Red Hawks pushed the tempo to try to get easy quick looks in the first half. The Red Hawks bench would provide a spark when they entered the game as they scored 12 points in the first half alone and 43 points in total for the game.
Senior Guard Keyon Pryce believes Montclair State’s depth is where much of their success comes from.
“We have twelve guys who do a good job in the rotation,” Pryce said. “I feel all twelve guys could be starters. This also helps our press defense because we have so many guys who can come in and give us fresh legs.
The first half concluded with an even score of 33-33. Pryce led all scores for Montclair State with six points going into halftime.
At the start of the second half he Red Hawks came out with the same intensity as they did when the match first started, Penn State Abington did not. The Red Hawks press continued to force Abington into offensive errors. The Red Hawks opened the second half on a nine to one run. Little did they know the Red Hawks were just getting started as they proceeded to run up the score on Abington.
Montclair State shot 56 percent from the field in the second half and increased their three-point percentage to 40 percent. Junior Guard and leading scorer for the Red Hawks Mike Jackson, talked about the teams early struggles and what changed after halftime.
“In the first half we didn’t shoot it well, the offense felt too nonchalant, but we kept shooting,” Jackson said. “Coach told us what we were doing wrong, we locked in and focused on having balance and holding our follow-through, when shooting in the second half.”
Montclair State took an 18-point lead midway through the second half. The Red Hawks sprinkled in a 3-2 zone defense to give Abington’s offense some different looks. The Red Hawks continued to dominate and would win 98-67. Pryce would finish the game with 19 points.
“Their big man (Abington) wasn’t as agile as some other teams Forwards and Centers, so it was easier to get to the rim and finish,” Pryce said.
This game was a well-rounded win for the home team. The Red Hawk’s next match is an away game Friday, Dec. 29 in Center Valley Pennsylvania, at 7 p.m.