Montclair, NJ – Postseason basketball is an exciting time of the year and there was plenty of that inside the Panzer Athletic Center on Saturday as fourth-seeded Montclair State outlasted No. 5 seed Rowan 77-73 in the first round of the NJAC Men's Basketball Championship.
Senior Jovanni Chatham scored seven of his 15 points in the extra period as the Red Hawks (18-8) squandered a 12-point second half lead before outscoring the Profs (13-13) 13-9 in the overtime.
Freshman Myles Mitchell-White registered a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds helping Montclair advance to the semifinals of the NJAC Tournament for the first time since 2011. The Red Hawks will head to Ramapo on Wednesday, February 21 for its third matchup of the year against the top-seeded Roadrunners. Ramapo won the first meeting 70-56 in Mahwah in December with MSU posted a 74-60 victory a home on January 24.
Ramon Wright and TJ Booth had 21 and 19 points respectively for Rowan (13-13), which was looking to knock off MSU in the opening round for the second straight year and avenge two losses to Montclair State this season. Nick DePersia had 14 points and four rebounds.
A thrilling contest boiled down to the final minute of regulation and through the five-minute overtime after Rowan had trailed 57-45 with 6:26 to play in the second half. Down 61-56 with just over two minute to go Rowan scored six straight and tied the game as Booth converted a three-point play with 56 seconds. Each team traded a turnover before MSU's Jordan Roberson was fouled with 28 ticks to play.
Roberson made both attempts putting the Red Hawks in front 63-61. After another Rowan turnover, Mitchell-White went to the line with 11 seconds. He made the first leaving the margin at three which turned out huge as DePersia buried a contested three-pointer off the left wing and near the sideline deadlocking the contest at 64-64. Montclair got a last chance however Mitchell-White's jumper fell short.
Booth hit a free throw to open the overtime giving Rowan the lead, the Profs first of the contest. The lead would then change hands six times over the next four minutes. DePersia hit another three for a 68-66 Profs' advantage however a Justin Porter three-point play put Montclair back on top with 3:31 to go. DaRon Curry answered with a layup however Chatham's three vaulted Montclair back on top 72-70 with 2:02 remaining.
Wright made three at the line over in the next 65 seconds swinging the lead back to the Profs 73-72. Montclair took possession and whittled the clock down to 38 seconds before Mitchell-White found Chatham in the left corner. The senior nailed the attempt behind the arc giving Montclair the lead 75-72.
DePersia raced down the floor and tried to get a tying three-point attempt off. Junior Jordan Roberson got a hand on the shot with Catham coming down with the rebound. He was fouled and made one for a 76-73 lead with 26 seconds. Booth misfired on his three point attempt with seven seconds to go. Irving Callendar made one for a four-point advantage all but sealing the game for the Red Hawks.
Jareett Bogus recorded a double-double for Montclair State with Porter added nine points and for rebounds. Callendar had six for the Red Hawks, who owned a tremendous margin on the boards outrebounding Rowan 61-39, including 18 offensive points that produced 18 second-chance points.