By AJ Chasan
As Montclair State’s men’s basketball season was near conclusion after already clinching the number three seed in the NJAC playoff, the Red Hawks faced one more challenge before tournament time. None bigger than on the road taking on Rowan University in their house. One final tuneup before the games matter the most, who else would you rather play if you’re in that locker room? Where else would you rather be than in your rival’s gym? This was the Red Hawks final chance to send a statement to the NJAC heading into the dance, boy did they show that they are ready to boogie.
In an absolute thriller, Montclair State pulled out a seismic 104-100 victory in overtime. Led by Steven Breeman with 23 points and Mike Jackson with 18, the stars were on full display in this one. To win this game, both would need to show up and show out. They most certainly did. But all year this group has proven they are not just a two man show. The next man up mentality has never been more real than it has been for the Red Hawks this season. Should be no shock to anyone, they have one of if not the deepest roster in the NJAC for a reason. Credit to Coach Potts and his staff for recruiting their tails off year in and year out.
No moment however, was as huge as Keyon Price’s game tying layup with one second left to go on the game clock to send this contest to overtime. After Rowan’s Andrew Seager knocked down both free throws to put Rowan up 92-90 with 5 seconds left on the game clock, the Red Hawks needed someone to step up and make a play. Tonight, Price was the hero.
The Red Hawks officially finish this regular season with 15 conference wins, along with 21 total wins. It’s been an unbelievable ride thus far with many memories that these Red Hawks will cherish for a long, long time. But for now, none of that matters. What matters is that they put themselves in a position to compete for an NJAC title. This team has the opportunity to do something special. They have an opportunity to hoist that trophy and cement themselves into university history forever.
For Montclair State, the sprint starts Saturday. As of this article being written, their opponent is still TBD. But as we’ve seen at every step of the way this year, it doesn’t matter who they play. They can beat anyone at any time. Panzer will be packed, fans will be in the stands, energy energy through the roof, on Saturday no matter what opposing team steps through those doors it’ll be a battle until the end. Expect Potts group to be ready to go
Two more…two more wins and they are champions. Let’s roll.