Junior Taylor Johnson scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and senior Bradley Riester added 21 as the University of Mary Washington men's basketball team downed Montclair State University, 70-64, on Saturday night in the Hampton Inn Tipoff Tournament before 1,000 fans at the Anderson Center. The win was the 250th in the career of head coach Rod Wood.
The Eagles jumped out to an early lead, starting the game on an 11-3 run in the opening three minutes. Johnson, Riester, and Marcellus Holley hit three-pointers in the run, the first of 13 that UMW would connect for on the night.
UMW led, 14-10, with 15:05 remaining in the half, and went on an 8-0 spurt to up the margin to 22-10 with 12:01 left. Senior Dylan Farinet scored four over that time frame. The lead stayed near 10 for much of the rest of the half, and UMW led by 10, 40-30, at intermission.
In the second half, the teams traded baskets with the Eagles leading by 11, 53-42, with 13:02 on the clock. Montclair State stormed back with a 20-7 run to grab its first lead at 62-60 with just 3:10 left. But Riester answered with a three pointer to give UMW the lead it would not relinquish.
With 1:24 left, Farinet hit a desparation three at the end of the shot clock to put UMW up, 68-62, and Johnson capped the night with a pair of free throws in the final minute.
"Good win against a good team", said Wood afterwards. Our new players stepped up in their roles, but in the end it was our veterans who hit big shots, got big rebounds, and that's what you want to see them do. We have to execute and be strong at the end of games every night out, because we're going to be in a lot of tight games."
"It was huge for us to get out early in front of the big crowd", said Johnson, who scored his career high with 27. "We kept our composure when they came back. Great win."
Riester added, "This feels phenominal to get Coach his 250th win. He does so much for us, so it was great to return the favor tonight."
Johnson went 7-14 from the floor, including 6-11 on three pointers, and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. Riester was 7-13 and 5-8 from distance as the only two Eagles in double figures. Angel Gonzalez paced Montclair State with 19.
The Eagles will host Eastern Mennonite, an overtime winner over Staten island on Saturday, on Sunday for the Hampton Inn South Tipoff Championship at the Anderson Center at 3:00 p.m.