Kean Men Defeat TCNJ, 44-37

UNION, N.J. (1/11/12) – The Kean University men's basketball defeated The College of New Jersey, 44-37, in New Jersey Athletic Conference South Division action on Wednesday evening.

The Cougars (3-13, 2-3 NJAC) used a 15-2 run midway through the second half to take the lead for good and snap a 10-game losing skid.

For TCNJ (6-9, 1-4 NJAC), senior guard Kyle Rawson scored a game-high 12 points and added seven rebounds, while sophomore guard Ryan Duffy had a team-high nine points for Kean.

The Lions opened the game on a 7-2 run and would lead by as many as six points in the first half with the 10-4 lead following a three-pointer by Rawson with 11:22 remaining in the half.  Duffy (pictured left) and sophomore Kenny Pace knocked down back-to-back three-pointers for Kean to tie the game at 10-10 with 8:30 left in the half, and the two teams were tied again at 13 all before TCNJ took a 16-15 lead at halftime. 

The two teams combined to shoot just 26.1 percent from the floor, as Kean was 6-of-19 (31.6) and TCNJ was 6-of-27 (22.2) in the low-scoring first half.  Duffy was one of three Cougars with three points and added three rebounds, while Rawson led TCNJ with five points and four rebounds. 

TCNJ used a 10-1 run early in the second half to build a 26-19 lead following a lay-up by Emmanuel Matlock with 15:28 remaining.  Kean junior Anthony Gibson and Rawson exchanged three-pointers, before Duffy knocked down back-to-back three-pointers on two straight possessions to pull Kean to within 29-28 with 13:18 left.  Kean junior Branly Cadet sank two free throws to extend the run eight straight points and give Kean a 30-29 lead, before TCNJ sophomore Jason Chalmers had a lay-up to give the Lions the lead one final time at 31-30. 

Kean took the lead for good on its next possession on a lay-up by sophomore Xavier Fuller to open a 7-0 run for Kean, extending the lead to 37-31 with 6:45 remaining.  The Lions would pull to within three points on a pair of occasions following three-pointers by Albert Matlock, but the Cougars sealed the win by hitting all four free throws in the final 31 seconds to seal the win. 

Duffy hit all three of his three-point attempts for the team-high nine points in 17 minutes off the bench, while Pace (pictured right) added seven points. 

For TCNJ, Albert Matlock added six points. 

Kean returns to action on Saturday, January 14, when the Cougars host William Paterson University.  Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.