UNION, N.J. (1/18/14) – Senior guards Ali Mix and Mike Burton combined for 47 points as the Kean University men's basketball team roared back from a halftime deficit to top Montclair State University 81-72 on Saturday in NJAC play. Mix's 29 points were the most scored by any Cougar this season.
With six minutes gone in the game and the Cougars trailing by four, Tim Steward scored five-straight points to give Kean its first lead of the game. It was the start of an 8-0 run in less than one minute that put the hosts up by four points.
Burton made a sweet running jumper in the lane, but Daniel Singleton and Ordel Goldson made shots on three-straight possessions to put Montclair back in the lead. Goldson had 16 points in the first 14 minutes of the matchup.
Kean stayed close, and with three minutes remaining in the period Mix found himself alone at the top of the key and knocked down the shot from downtown to put the Cougars ahead. That bucket started a string of lead changes on three-straight possessions, and the Cougars finished the half trailing by one.
Both teams came out of the break shooting cold from the floor until Mix hit a corner three and then two layups for seven-straight unanswered points. That streak put Kean up by two points seven minutes into the second period. Mix already had 19 points at that time.
Montclair tied it with a layup and took the lead on a jumper in the paint, but Kean's big men – Kyle Latorre and Mike Summerer – answered and put Kean back ahead. There had been six ties and 14 lead changes at that point in the game, halfway through the second period.
Mix and Burton ensured that Kean pulled away through the next four minutes; Mix hit an impressive coast-to-coast layup and Burton (pictured left) knocked down three three-pointers, including one hit from the midcourt logo.
The Red Hawks were able to hang around thanks to Goldson's 15 rebounds and 36 points. The senior had numerous put-backs to keep the game close.
In the final minute, Emmanuel Omowole hit a pair of free throws and Latorre threw down a fast-break dunk to put an emphatic flourish on the comeback victory. Kean built up the first double-digit lead of the night for either team in the final minute.
Burton finished shooting 4-for-5 from downtown, while Latorre missed a double-double by just one point (9 points / 11 boards). The Cougars are now 9-5 and 5-4 in the NJAC, while the Red Hawks are now 6-9 overall and 3-6 in conference play.
The Cougars will travel to the College of Staten Island on Monday for a Martin Luther King Day matinee with the Dolphins at 1 p.m.