Men's Hoops Opens NJAC Season with Win Over Rutgers-Camden

UNION, N.J. (11/30/11) – Sophomore guard Ryan Duffy scored all 16 of his points in the second half, as the Kean University men's basketball team scored 12 of the game's final 16 points to defeat Rutgers-Camden, 61-54, in New Jersey Athletic Conference South Division action on Wednesday evening.

Sophomore guard Michael Burton (pictured left) led the Cougars (2-3, 1-0 NJAC) with a team-high 18 points and hit 8-of-9 free throws, as Kean erased an eight-point second-half deficit. 

For the Scarlet Raptors (1-2, 0-1 NJAC), senior guard Anthony Solano scored a game-high 22 points.

In a low-scoring first half, Kean took an early 9-3 lead on a lay-up by sophomore Kyle Latorre with just under 13 minutes left in the half.  Rutgers-Camden answered with six straight points to tie the game just two minutes later, before Kean followed with a 9-2 run to build its largest lead of the half at 18-11 with 2:07 remaining.  The Scarlet Raptors trimmed the Kean lead to four at the break, as the Cougars took a 19-15 lead at halftime.

Latorre led the Cougars with five points and five rebounds, while Solano had five points and six boards for Rutgers-Camden.

The two teams traded baskets and the lead in the early goings of the second half, as Duffy scored the first seven points for Kean and sophomore guard Kyle Bowman knocked down a pair of three pointers in the first 2:53 of the half, as the score was tied at 26.

Bowman gave the Scarlet Raptors a 29-26 lead with his third three points, before Rutgers-Camden would stretch the lead out to 39-31 following a pair of three-pointers by Solano as the senior scored five straight points to give the Scarlet Raptors their largest lead of the game with 11 minutes remaining.

A three-pointer by Duffy capped a 12-4 run by the Cougars to tie the game at 43 with just under seven minutes remaining and Duffy gave Kean a 49-47 lead on a pair of free throws with 3:48 left. 

Rutgers-Camden regained the lead right back on a three-pointer by Bowman, before sophomore Kenny Pace gave Kean the lead for good on a pair of free throws with just under three minutes left. 

Burton extended the lead with a jumper and the Cougars would knock down all six of its free throws in the final 90 seconds to seal the conference win.

Duffy (pictured right) and Burton both knocked down 5-of-10 from the floor, as Burton also added eight rebounds.  After shooting under 25 percent in the opening half (7-of-29), Kean knocked down 60 percent of its shots (12-of-20) in the second half.

Solano hit 7-of-11 from the floor and added six rebounds before fouling out late in the game.  Bowman had 16 points, all in the second half, and added six rebounds and two steals.

The Cougars travel to Ramapo College on Saturday, December 3, for the NJAC contest.  Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.