STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (3/8/14) – The Kean University men's basketball team overcame a six-point halftime deficit by shooting 65 percent in the final period as the Cougars topped their NJAC rivals from Rutgers-Newark 70-63 in the ECAC Metro Semifinal on Saturday. With the victory, Kean will advance to the Championship Game of the ECAC Metro Tournament at the College of Staten Island at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
All five Kean starters were in double figures, led by senior Kyle Latorre who posted his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Senior All-NJAC guards Ali Mix and Mike Burton (pictured left) paced the Cougars in scoring with 15 points each.
Kean shot well over the entire game (58 percent from the floor), but the Cougars found themselves trailing after the first half as Newark hit five threes and outrebounded Kean 15-12 in the first 20 minutes.
There was no great secret to how Kean was able to wrest control of the game from the Scarlet Raiders; a team shooting 65 percent will give itself a great chance to win. The Cougars were 13-20 from the floor, 5-for-9 from three-point land and 11-13 from the free-throw line to boot.
Tom Soulias hit all of his second-half shots, including a pair from downtown, and Burton also hit two shots from behind the arc in the second.
It was Burton's three-pointer at 10:30 that started the game-winning run for the Cougars. That shot cut Rutgers' six-point lead in half, and was followed by Mix's lay-in to cut the deficit to one.
Latorre then made two free throws to flip the lead to Kean. Xavier Fuller and Mix also scored to complete the fateful 11-0 run. The Cougars never trailed again on their way to a 16-13 record.
Rutgers-Newark ends its season with a 20-9 mark.
Kean will play the ECAC final on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the College of Staten Island. They will face either Stevens Institute of Technology or the host Dolphins.