Montclair St. Enters Holiday Break on Positive Note, 62-52

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Montclair, NJ - Junior forward Jordan Roberson scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Montclair State heads into the holiday break on a positive note with a 62-52 victory over Utica College at the Panzer Athletic Center on Saturday. 

Senior Jarrett Bogus and freshman Myles Mitchell-White added 12 and 11 points respectively for the Red Hawks, who won their second straight and improved to 7-3 on the season. 

Senior forward Ivan Iton posted a double-double of 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Pioneers, who had their two-game winning streak halted. Utica fell to 3-4. 

The Pioneers led for the first 15-plus minutes of the contest. Leading 19-17 with 5:19 to go, Bogus ignited a 15-1 half-ending run by the Red Hawks, who held the Pioneers to just three free throws over the final 7:21 of the half. Bogus tied the game at the line nd then gave MSU its first advantage with 4:42 left. DeAireus Brown followed with a reverse layup and a long three from Joseph Radi put Montclair in front 26-19 with 3:53 to go before halftime. Mitchell-White added two free throws and Kaan Yilmaz hit from short range before Iton snapped the MSU run at the line with 1:19 left. Bogus scored on a layup nine seconds later as Montclair went into the break up 32-20. 

The run continued for with the first nine points of the second half. Jovanni Chatham buried a three-pointer on Montclair's first possession and Mitchell-White drove the lane for two more before back-to-back jumpers inside by Eddie Emedoh extended the Red Hawks' lead to 41-20 with 15:37 remaining. 

A layup by Mitchell-White gave the Red Hawks their largest lead at 52-27 near the halfway mark of the second half. Utica was able to trim that deficit back to 14 points toward the end of the game thanks in part to solide bench performances from Shawn Gashi and Miles McNeill, who had eight and seven points respectively. Gashi's three with 4:03 to go got the Pioneers within 58-44 however Bogus answered with two at the line and Roberson's foul shot with 2:41 left restored the lead to 61-44.

Yilmaz finished with six points and six rebounds off the bench for Montclair, which overcame a tough shooting night all the way around. The Red Hawks shot 44 percent (24-of-54) from the field but made only 3-of-13 from behind the arc and 11-of-20 at the charity stripe. MSU offset that with solid defense limiting Utica to 30 percent (19-of-64) shooting as the Pioneers were just 9-of-36 from three-point range.

Montclair State returns to action on Thursday, December 28 as it hosts the Gelston/Paskert Holiday Tournament. MSU will face Elizabethtown College on the 28th at 3:00 pm in the first meeting between the teams since the first round of the 2003 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship at the Panzer Athletic Center. The Red Hawks won that encounter  74-69 on its way to a Sweet 16 appearance that year.  Manhattanville College and Nazareth College square off in the second contest at 5:00 pm with the championship and third-place games scheduled for Friday, December 29 at 12 and 2pm, respectively.