By AJ Chasan
Red Hawk Country! You are going to the NJAC semifinal! In dominant fashion, Montclair State showed up in the most monumental of ways. After leading 36-30 at halftime, the Red Hawks had 20 more minutes to continue their season. Coming out of the locker room, Montclair State had 20 more minutes to earn a trip to Stockton or earn a trip home. Coach Potts’ team decided they weren’t ready to clean out their lockers just yet. They surged for 53 points in the second half to win 89-69.
The hero of the day by a wide margin was Keyon Pryce. The star guard scored 31 points and only missed two shots all game long. He was dialed in from the moment the ball was tipped off and was a man on a mission. Mike Jackson also contributed with a casual 21-point performance. In tournament basketball, each team’s stars need to perform as such to win. Facing elite competition at this time of year, the best need to be the best for those 40 season-altering minutes. That’s exactly what Montclair State got.
What Montclair State also got out of its group as well was a complete team effort. As much as Pryce and Jackson performing like stars got them the win, the rest of the unit all contributed to the game in winning ways as well. The Red Hawks shot 20-22 from the stripe, compared to NJCU’s 11-21. They shot 41.9 percent from three, that to NJCU’s 26.7 percent. Montclair State also won the turnover battle 19-13. The most impressive stat of all, NJCU only led for three minutes and 36 seconds of game time—an incredible team performance by the men in red.
Overall, it was a successful day for the Red Hawks. They now have the opportunity to go to the NJAC final with a win on Tuesday. Montclair State now faces the defending NJAC champions with almost their entire roster back from last year. This will be an uphill battle from minute one until minute 40. But as we’ve seen all season long, whenever a barrier is put in front of this group, they bust right through it. For those Montclair State fans who plan to make the drive down to Galloway, NJ for the game, wear red and fill The Sports Center with your Red Hawk pride. Make them fear you.
So as Potts’ told the Red Hawk Sports Network after today’s win “40 for 40.” 40 minutes for another 40 minutes. If all goes well, we may just have an NJAC finals game on our hands.