After going into the half down by seven points, the Kennesaw State men’s basketball team rallied back and defeated the New Jersey Institute of Technology 71-65 on Wednesday, Jan. 25, in the Convocation Center.
Kendrick Ray, the leading scorer in the ASUN Conference, had to be sidelined for much of the first half after picking up three fouls, forcing KSU to find alternative solutions to make up Ray’s offensive production.
Junior guard Nick Masterson, a 51 percent 3-point shooter, scored 16 points for the Owls and finished a perfect 4-4 from behind the three-point line.
KSU went into the locker room down 36-29, but senior forward Aubrey Williams notched his 12th double-double of the season.
NJIT’s senior guards Tim Colman and Rob Ukawuba spurned the Highlander’s first half offense by combining for 22 points, both doing a great job of attacking KSU’s defense, finishing for layups and getting to the free-throw line.
In the second half, Ray was inserted back into the lineup and immediately got to work, scoring a layup on KSU’s first possession. He finished with 18 points, seven assists and three rebounds.
The run featured a relatively unsung hero for KSU — redshirt freshman guard Tyler Hooker scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half. He also scored nine of the team’s last 12 points, including a go-ahead three and two free throws within the final minute that helped seal the win.
The Owls hit the road for a rematch against NJIT on Monday, Jan. 30, in Newark, New Jersey.