UNION, N.J. (11/25/14) – The Kean University men's basketball team dropped a taught 72-70 matchup with Montclair State University on Tuesday night. The Cougars rallied from an 18-point deficit to have a shot to win on the final possession.
Kean, with enthusiasm on the bench and good effort on the court started out hot; they led 7-2 three minutes in. There was good back-and-forth from both teams in the high-intensity game.
Montclair came back to lead 16-12 with 10:57 on the clock. Kean's zone defense was very effective with more on-ball pressure, creating forced shots and turnovers. The Cougars forced five total turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
But, eventually the Red Hawks' Tremaine White heated up from distance, earning two hits from behind the arc late in the first.
But the Red Hawks closed out the half with an eight point lead, with the final points coming on a tip-in with eight seconds to go.
The Red Hawks' early miscues three minutes in the second period led to another Hladik three and next forced Montclair into a timeout. Holley came out if the stoppage hitting consecutive turn-around jumpers.
Kean was within three, 38-35, with 16 minutes left, but the Red Hawks slowly extended their lead in the following possessions.
With 11 minutes to go in the game, the Cougars held the ball for over a minute long thanks to a pair of offensive rebounds. It finally ended with Holley finding Emmanuel Omowole for a lay-in that cut the lead back down to seven.
Mike Diamond then made a splash with a deep three and had a huge block on defense at the 10 minute mark.
The Red Hawks were holding off Kean with offensive rebounding and put backs; Devyn Ransom had two of them. Montclair went back up by 15 with seven minutes left.
Keans' Kevin Grek (pictured left) hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 10 with three minutes to go. On the next possession, Holley grabbed an offensive rebound, made the put-back-and-one. Kean was only down by seven following that great play.
Off a loose ball, Omowole slapped it to Holley for a trey and an immediate timeout.
Kean was only down by five with 1:02 left. After a missed free throw by Montclair, Kean closed the gap to three with a corner trey by Tim Steward. Another turnover led to a fast break and foul on Montclair. The score was 71-70 Red Hawks with 18.9 on the scoreboard.
Kean wisely committed a foul on Erick Loften-Harris with 12.7 left as the crowd sat on the edge of their seats awaiting the results from the charity stripe. Loften-Harris went one-out-of-two. Kean pushed the ball up to look for the tying- or game-winning shot. But the Cougars' final attempt came up short.
Kean is now 0-4 and -2 in the NJAC. The Red Hawks are 3-1 and 1-1 in the league.
The Cougars will continue their conference homestand on December 3 against Ramapo College. Tipoff will be at 8 p.m.