MONTCLAIR, N.J. (Jan. 15, 2020) – Junior guard Arian Azemi scored a career-high 35 points and senior forward Isaac Destin notched his sixth double-double of the season to power the Rutgers University-Camden men’s basketball team over Montclair State University, 89-77, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game here Wednesday night.
Rutgers-Camden snapped a four-game losing streak, raising its record to 5-9 overall and 2-6 in the NJAC, while Montclair State fell to 8-7 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
It was only the Raptors’ second win in their last 14 games against Montclair State, with the last coming in Camden by a 72-71 score on Jan. 10, 2018. It was Rutgers-Camden’s first win at Montclair State since Jan. 28, 2004, a 77-70 victory.
Montclair State leads the all-time series, 55-11.
Led by the all-around play of Azemi, the Scarlet Raptors built a 44-36 halftime lead. Azemi notched 19 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals in the opening half, while Destin added 10 points and six rebounds in the first 20 minutes. A layup by Destin early in the half gave the Scarlet Raptors the lead for good at 4-3.
Montclair State cut the deficit to a single basket on a pair of occasions in the second half. With 15:37 remaining, the Red Hawks made it a 51-49 game, but junior forward Ian McCarthy answered with a clutch three-pointer for the Scarlet Raptors.
With 13:45 remaining, it was a 56-53 game before a jumper by Destin sparked the Raptors on a six-point run. The Red Hawks never came closer than six points the rest of the way.
Azemi’s 35 points were the most at Rutgers-Camden since Vincent Anfield Jr. scored 39 against Stockton University on Jan. 31, 2018. The first-year Raptor, who played two seasons at California’s San Bernardino Valley College, beat his previous Rutgers-Camden scoring high of 29 points, set against Rowan University on Nov. 26. He also added his Raptor career high of nine steals, while dishing off six assists and grabbing eight rebounds. His points, assists and steals were all game highs.
Destin, meanwhile collected 23 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. His scoring output lifted his career total to 1,064, passing the total of 1,053 points shared by Phil Larsen (1953-57) and Keith Harris (1963-67) on the all-time program list. Destin moved into 12th place in program history, with his next target being the 1,141 points recorded by James Washington (1995-98).
Sophomore guard Keysean Simmonds added 10 points and four assists for the Scarlet Raptors, while McCarthy canned nine points.
Senior guard Akbar Hoffman scored 31 points for the Red Hawks.
Rutgers-Camden shot 34-for-56 from the floor (60.7 percent), including a 14-for-24 performance by Azemi. The Red Hawks were 30-for-65 (46.2) and held a slim 34-32 edge off the boards.
Rutgers-Camden plays another NJAC game Saturday when it travels to New Jersey City University for a 3 p.m. contest.