WP Men’s Basketball Comes Up Short in Thriller



Jesse Norman, Contributing Writer

The O.T clock hit double zeros as Montclair State senior guard Akbar Hoffman’s shot took a friendly bounce into the bottom of the net as the William Paterson Pioneers fell to the Montclair State Red Hawks 106-105 in overtime.

Senior guard Anthony Uribe sunk a three-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime between the Pioneers and Red Hawks.

There were incredible performances by countless Pioneers, Sean Smith was on fire scoring 29 points on over 56% shooting from the field. Scorching 71% from the three-point line.

Dominic Mignone and forward Malcolm McLeod both were terrific scoring 19 and 17 points respectively.

The name of the game for the Pioneers was absolute perseverance.

The Pioneers only lead the game once and with 13:30 left in the second half, while they were staring down their biggest deficit of 13 points.

The Pioneers would fight back continuously before the Red Hawks would hit a big shot or get a critical foul to swing the momentum.

The two-minute mark came and Smith took over, he hit a layup to cut the lead to 90-84. Smith then followed that up with a three-pointer to make the score 90-87, Montclair State guard Akbar Hoffman hit both of his free throws to give Montclair State a five-point lead with just 55 seconds on the clock.

Smith followed up Hoffman with two free throws of his own cutting the lead to just three points.

Smith fouled Montclair State’s, Justin Porter.

Porter missed both free throws giving Mignone a chance to grab the defensive rebound and call a timeout.

With just 8 seconds left, the Pioneers had the ball down by three points. With the clock ticking down to zero Uribe launched the shot that gave the Pioneers life going into overtime.

The Pioneers and Red Hawks battled down the stretch of overtime.

Hoffman continuously made plays to keep the RedHawks in front until there were just 20 seconds left on the clock.

Uribe made another incredible clutch play, sinking a transition layup to put the William Paterson Pioneers up 105-104.

Hoffman took the ball off the inbound and eventually put up a mid-range shot with three Pioneer defenders in his face. The shot made it onto the SportsCenter top 10 plays the next day.

The Pioneers now sit with a record of 3-2 while being 0-1 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

WPU will have a chance to bolster their NJAC record with all of their next four games coming against NJAC opponents.

William Paterson’s next game will be away in Jersey City as they take on the New Jersey City Gothic Knights at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.