Kean Men Fall to Rowan, 78-70

UNION, N.J. (2/5/11) – Rowan senior guard Sean Hughes converted 5-of-6 free throws in the final 30 seconds en-route to scoring a game-high 27 points, as Rowan University defeated host Kean University, 78-70, in New Jersey Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon.

Kean senior forward Jonathan Jones (pictured left) had his 21st double-double of the season, finishing with 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Cougars (15-7, 7-3 NJAC).

Hughes led three Profs in double-figures, as he hit 8-of-11 shots from the floor, including 4-of-5 from long range, and added 12 rebounds for Rowan (9-11, 3-6 NJAC).

The Cougars scored the first seven points of the game, with five coming from Jones, however Rowan used a 17-7 run to take a 17-14 lead midway through the first half.  A three-pointer from Kean's J.J. Hladik knotted the score at 17-17, but the Profs netted seven unanswered points to build a 24-17 lead and would eventually lead by nine points before taking a five-point lead at halftime at 34-29.

Sophomore guard Kendall White had 14 points and junior guard Roger Loatman scored 11 points in the opening half for Rowan, while Jones scored 15 points for Kean.

Kean scored the first five points of the second half to quickly tie the game and used a 9-1 run, taking a 46-39 lead on a three-pointer by freshman guard Michael Burton (pictured right) with 13:36 remaining.  Hughes knocked down back-to-back three-pointers for Rowan to trim the lead to 46-45 and hit his third in a row to again keep Rowan within one point at 49-48.  An alley-oop dunk for Jones pushed the Cougar lead back to 53-50, however a three-point play by Loatman tied the game and a lay-up by Loatman put the Profs ahead 55-53 with 8:21 remaining.

Rowan extended the lead to 59-54 on a free throw by Hughes, before a three-pointer by Hladik sparked an 8-2 run for the Cougars, as they regained the lead one final time at 62-61 on a pair of free throws by Jones.

With the game tied at 62-62 with six minutes remaining, three straight Cougar turnovers helped Rowan regain the lead at 66-62, as the turnovers resulted in a jumper for Hughes and a lay-up for Loatman. 

The Cougars managed to tie the game on a free throw and lay-up by Jones on back-to-back possessions, however Loatman broke the 68-68 tie with a pair of free throws with 2:02 remaining to give Rowan the lead for good.

A jumper by White and single foul shots from freshman guard Jason Rosenberg and Hughes extended the lead to six points, as the Cougars only had a pair of free throws by Hladik to pull back to within four points before Hughes knocked down his final four foul shots to seal the victory. 

Hladik (pictured left) tied his career high with 15 points off the bench, while Burton added 12 points and three assists for the Cougars.

For Rowan, Loatman finished with 22 points and four steals and White hit 8-of-11 shots from the floor en-route to finishing with 19 points and seven rebounds.

The Cougars host Richard Stockton College on Monday, February 7, in a key NJAC match-up between the top two teams in the NJAC South Division.  Men's tip-off is set for 8 p.m.