Jersey City, N.J. (12/8/12) – The Kean University men’s basketball team never trailed as they outlasted New Jersey City University, 55-48, in NJAC action on Saturday afternoon.
Kean, which shot 15-of-16 from the line and 40.5 percent overall, wins consecutive conference games and is now 2-5 (2-3 NJAC).
Despite only committing 14 turnovers in the game and using its pressure defense to force the Cougars into 23 giveaways, the Gothic Knights (2-6, 0-5 NJAC) could only muster 16 points off those mistakes.
Junior Michael Burton, who entered the game as the NJAC's leading scorer (16.7 per game), managed a team-best 15 points, five rebounds and four assists in 36 minutes. Senior Mike Shaughnessy delivered nine assists. In defeat for NJCU, sophomore point guard Dakwan Simmons finished with a game-high 16 points.
Burton, who scored nine points in the first half, made two threes in the period, including a triple with 6:20 to go to give the Cougars a 14-point lead (21-7), its largest margin of the game. With time winding down in the half, sophomore David Cole drained a three-pointer to make it a four-point game at the break.
Kean managed to keep the Gothic Knights at arms' length for most of the second half. With 6:50 left in the game, Simmons sank two foul shots to tie the game at 38-38, the first tie since the early minutes of the contest.
But the Cougars rallied and scored 12 of the next 14 points over a span of 5:12 to seize control of the game. A three by senior Anthony Gibson put Kean back on top, 41-38, with 5:27 left and Shaughnessy went on to score on a fast break. Free throws by junior Kyle Latorre and Shaughnessy pushed the lead to 47-40 with 3:02 to play and with 2:01 left, freshman Frank Nock banked in a three-pointer to extend the lead to 50-40.
Latorre and Gibson each had nine points and seven rebounds for the Cougars. Latorre was 2-of-3 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line while Gibson shot 4-of-4 from the charity stripe.
Kean returns to action on Wednesday when they travel to William Paterson University.