Montclair ends Lions’ season, winning shot on buzzer

A season of tough losses continued on Senior Day for the College’s men’s basketball team as they were defeated by Montclair State University (MSU) Red Hawks, 62-59, on a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Head coach John Castaldo was proud of the effort his team displayed in the game and throughout the whole season.

“I can’t say enough about our guys,” Castaldo said. “We’ve been in a lot of close games and have given some outstanding efforts, and those efforts have been led by our three seniors.”

The three seniors guards, Leroy Peterson, Alex Mahoney and Gyl Vault, were all starters for the game and were introduced to the crowd prior to the game to honor them and their accomplishments.

Castaldo was pleased with the season, since the Lions improve their win total from the previous season, despite all the injuries.

“It’s a hard pill to swallow for our seniors,” Castaldo said. “They haven’t had the opportunity to play with a healthy class. We’ve been undermanned in the front court, but have done a tremendous job battling.”

“We’ve really turned the corner this year,” Castaldo added. “The three seniors were the catalysts in our development. They have done everything we have asked.”

Castaldo is exited about the team he has coming back next season.

“Due to injuries, several younger guys have gotten a lot of playing time,” Castaldo said. “We have a lot to look forward to. We’ve lost some tough, hard-fought games and gained a lot of experience.”

For the season, sophomore guard Kyle Burke led the team in scoring with an average of 15.4 per game, followed by Grant at 14.6 and Peterson at 8.9.

Peterson led the team in assists with 89 and freshman forward Bobby Davison led the team in rebounds with 270.

With 3.9 seconds left and the score tied at 59 apiece, MSU passed the ball to senior Ben Martinez. Martinez dribbled to the top right side of the three-point line and sank a 25-foot shot while being blanketed by a defender as time expired.

The Lions ended their season with a record of 13-12 overall and 6-12 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) while MSU improved their record to 19-5 overall and 13-5 in the conference.

The Lions came out of a timeout down two with 18.8 seconds remaining and in-bounded the ball to sophomore Bobby Henning, who beat his man off the dribble to the basket and hit a three-footer over two defenders with 5.6 seconds left to play to tie the game.

“They disrupted our play, and Bobby just saw an opening and he hit it,” Castaldo said. “It was a big time shot.”

The Lions took a 30-26 lead into halftime and led 47-35 with 12:26 remaining, but were unable to hold off the Hawks. Senior forward Gyl Vaught and sophomore guard Derick Grant led the Lions with 12 points apiece, while Mahoney scored 11 points and Peterson added nine points and five assists. Davison pulled down 10 boards. Pierre Mitchell led the Red Hawks with 18 points.

Lions 72, Pioneers 70

The Lions defeated Richard Stockton College in overtime on Thursday night by a score of 72-70 to snap a four-game losing streak.

Burke led all scorers with 24 points and Grant scored 23 points while hitting two free throws with six seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.

Davison had a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds. Burke connected on 7-12 from beyond the arc, while the Lions, as a team, hit 11-25.

Stockton pulled ahead 70-66 in overtime before Burke scored six straight points to give the College the lead for good.