UNION, N.J. (1/31/15) – Despite 25 points from Tommy Soulias and a very efficient performance by Tim Steward, the Kean University men's basketball team fell to Rutgers-Camden 80-67 in NJAC action on Saturday. The Cougars are now 5-15 and 3-9 in the NJAC, while the Scarlet Raptors improved to 11-9 and 4-8 in the conference.
Hot shooting gave Kean an 11-2 lead to start the game. Soulias (pictured left) earned both styles of three-point plays – behind the arc and old-fashioned - during the run and J.J. Hladik poured in another trey for the Cougars.
But over the next few minutes, the Scarlet Raptors forced seven Kean turnovers to fuel a run that tied the game at 13 and eventually gave Camden the lead. Wyatt Polk had six points to pace Camden during that stretch.
With Rutgers still leading, Steward sank a couple of three-pointers to twice get Kean within one point. The second of those fueled a 7-0 Cougar run that vaulted the home team back in front.
In the final minute of the first half Camden led by three, but Hladik knocked down a trey in the corner with two seconds on the clock to send the teams into the break knotted at 31.
Rutgers scored nine of the first 11 points to begin the second period. Kean clawed back and with 13 minutes remaining in regulation, Hladik hit his third three-pointer of the day to tie the game at 44.
But from that final stalemate, Camden was able to pull ahead and earn the victory that was still tighter than the final score may suggest. The Raptors were led by Teon Russell with 15 points, 11 rebounds four assists and three blocks.
Steward's line included 3-for-4 shooting from three-point range and a team-high eight rebounds. Soulais and Hladik both finished with four hits from downtown. Emmanuel Omowole was second on the team with 15 points and added seven assists and four steals on the afternoon.
The Cougars will hit the road for an NJAC matchup with Rutgers-Newark on Wednesday.