UNION, N.J. (11/26/13) – Senior Xavier Fuller scored a career-best 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting to lead the Kean University men's basketball team to a 78-69 victory over Ramapo College on Tuesday night. The Cougars are now 3-1 and 1-1 in the NJAC.
Senior Xavier Fuller had an impressive first half for the Cougars with 13 points. He shot 5-of-8 (62.5%) from the floor and 3-of-3 from the line, with a team-high four rebounds. Otherwise it was a defensive struggle for both sides; Ramapo shot 30 percent overall from the floor and Kean was just 1-of-12 from behind the arc. But Kean did take advantage of all its opportunities at the free-throw line (7-for7) and led 36-25 at the break.
Kean dominated with 88 percent of the first half's second-chance points, thanks in part to Fuller's four offensive rebounds.
As the second period began, Fuller converted four layups in the first four minutes as Kean stretched its lead to19 points. Tom Soulias had a few nice assists during the run as the Cougars sent Ramapo back to the drawing board with its pressure system.
Mike Burton and Ali Mix hooked up for an 80 foot out-of-bounds play that led to another easy layup, but the Roadrunners (0-3, 0-1 NJAC) were able to hang in the game and cause a few turnovers midway through the final period. The Kean lead was trimmed to all the way to eight with four minutes to go.
Soulias knocked down a three-pointer on the next possession to bump the lead back to double-digits, and with 1:48 left to play Burton hit a three from 25 feet out with the shot clock winding down that proved to be the dagger.
Mix (pictured left) and Burton also had impressive games, combining for 35 points between them. Soulias was also in double figures with 13. Former Cougar Frank Nock led Ramapo 20 points.
As a team, Kean's second half shooting statistics were remarkable. The team hit 81 percent from the floor, was 3-of-4 from behind the arc and 5-of-7 from the free throw line; meaning the Cougars actually shot better with defenders and from downtown then they did at the charity stripe, though they only missed two of 14 free throws all game. It was a truly impressive shooting display.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, the Cougars will head to the College of New Jersey for an NJAC matchup at 8p.m. on December 4.