JERSEY CITY, NJ - New Jersey City University swingman Mark Washington (East Orange, NJ/West Side) scored a game-high 25 points, and captivated the crown with numerous electrifying dunks to earn NJAC Most Valuable Player honors in his own arena, as the New Jersey Athletic Conference senior men cruised to a 159-112 victory over the Skyline Conference senior men, in the 2006 NJAC/Skyline Men's Basketball Senior game, hosted by New Jersey City University at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center.
It was the first-ever season ending senior challenge between the NJAC and Skyline conferences. The NJAC is now 5-1 all-time in senior men's games, after winning 4-of-5 in the previous series with the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC).
The 159 total points scored in the four 12-minute quarter contest, crushed the old senior game record of 124 by the NJAC in 2003 and 2005.
Maritime State's Robert Benton (Montgomery, AL/G.W.Carver) was named the Skyline's Most Valuable Player after notching a double-double of 14 points (6-9 FG) and 10 rebounds.
Washington helped the NJAC surge to a 22-4 lead in the first 4:44 of the game, as he scored eight of the league's first 14 points. The NJAC never trailed, and led by as many as 50 points on a Washington dunk with six seconds remaining.
Washington finished shooting 11-of-18, and added team highs of seven rebounds and five steals in 18 minutes. Overall for the NJAC, all 16 players scored, and eight registered double figures.
Rutgers-Newark guard Justin Carter (Paterson, NJ/Don Bosco Tech) had the game's second highest point total with 17 (6-14 FG) and three assists. Montclair State University forward Gian Paul Gonzalez (North Haledon, NJ/Manchester Regional), the NJAC Player of the Year, finished with 13 points (5-6 FG) and five rebounds.
Also for the NJAC, NJCU forward Ben Balcom (Monroe Township, NJ/St. Patrick's, (Elizabeth)) scored 12 (5-9) and William Paterson University guard Mario Rivero (Elizabeth, NJ/St. Mary's) added a dozen (5-7). The NJAC seniors received 10 points apiece from Ramapo College guard Quameir Harding (Jersey City, NJ/Ferris), Richard Stockton College guard Chris Jones (Englewood, NJ/Dwight Morrow), and Stockton forward Tobias Smith (Newark, NJ/Bloomfield Tech). Kean University forward Armet Coles (Staten Island, NY/St. Peter's) contributed a game-best six assists, adding eight points and five steals.
Benton led the Skyline seniors with 14 points in 22 minutes, while College of Mount Saint Vincent guard James Mooney (Bronx, NY/Iona Prep) also recorded a double-double with 12 points (6-14 FG) and 11 rebounds, adding four assists.
In all, each of the 12 Skyline players scored at least four points, and six reached double digits. Two-time Skyline Player of the Year Kenny McMillan (Bronx, NY/All Hallows) of Farmingdale State University added 13 points and nine rebounds, Maritime's Gerard Danzy (Monroeville, AL/Hillcrest) finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
The Skyline received 10 points apiece from FSU guard Dashawn Warren (Astoria, NY/W.C. Bryant) and Mount Saint Mary College guard Brandon Weldon (Elmsford, NY/Alexander Hamilton). Manhattanville College center Jerry Fiefie (Stamford, NY/Quinnipiac College) was near a double-double with nine points and eight boards.
In an offensive lover's dream, the two conferences unleashed a combined 236 shots and 76 three-pointers. The NJAC shot 55.8 percent for the game (67-120), including 31-of-52 (59.6%) in the first half while building a 78-45 halftime lead. The NJAC also made 37.1 percent from three-point land (13-35), and had a 48-20 edge off of 40 Skyline turnovers. The NJAC outscored the Skyline in the paint (92-60), on fast-breaks (38-18), and from the bench (86-60).
The Skyline seniors shot 39.7 percent overall (46-116) and 22.0 percent from three-point territory (9-41). The league improved in the second period, shooting 42.2 percent (27-64). The Skyline seniors made most of their free throws (11-14, 78.6%) and outrebounded the NJAC, 72-58, capped by a 35-21 margin in the offensive boards.