Iona Rallies Past Monmouth, 69-68
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Despite 24 points from Justin Robinson (Lake Katrine, N.Y./Kingston), which led four Hawks in double-figures, Monmouth fell 69-68 at Iona in the Hynes Center in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play on Sunday afternoon.
The Hawks, who shot 51.0% (26-51) from the field, fall to 16-13 overall and 12-6 in the MAAC, while the Gaels, now 12-0 at home, improve to 23-6 overall and 16-2 in league play.
The Hawks, who led 67-63 at 2:53, and 68-66 with 1:00 on the clock, fell behind by one on A.J. English’s three-point play with 33.7 left. With less than 10 seconds remaining, Robinson’s floater missed and went out of bounds off an Iona player with 2.8 remaining. Following a timeout, Max DiLeo’s (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) baseline game-winner missed and the Gaels escaped with the win, earning their second straight MAAC Regular Season championship.
“I am very proud of my kids, even though we came out a little bit short,” stated head coach King Rice. “I am very excited we had a shot to win the game. I feel bad because we outplayed them for most of the game, but they showed they are a championship team so they kept fighting and were able to come back. Give Iona all the credit in the world. Hopefully we get a chance to play them again.”
Robinson, who has registered 49 points in the two games versus Iona this season, notched his fourth 20-point game on the year, while adding three assists and three rebounds. Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School) added 13 points and four assists, while Brice Kofane (Yaounde, Cameroon/Miller School/Providence) registered 10 points and eight rebounds and Chris Brady (Greenlawn, N.J./Harborfields) totaled 10 points and seven boards for the Hawks.
Monmouth took a 16-13 lead with 14:39 left in the half on Jones’ three-point play, and after Kofane’s putback put the Hawks in front 18-17 at 12:39, the Gaels answered with four straight to grab a 22-18 advantage with 9:16 left.
Trailing by four, the Hawks responded with an 8-0 run, which turned into a 22-4 streak to end the half, as Monmouth hauled in a 40-26 lead at the break. In the run, Robinson tallied nine of his 12 points of the stanza, as the Blue & White held a 15-point lead with 1:43 remaining on Robinson’s drive.
The Hawks pushed their lead to 44-28 to open the second half following baskets from Brady and Robinson, but the Gaels responded with a 16-2 run over the next 3:59 of action to pull within a pair, 46-44 with 14:31 left.
Another Robinson drive put the Hawks in front 48-44, but Iona continued its stretch, pushing its streak to 27-6, and claiming a 55-50 lead with 10:46 showing. The Hawks answered with a 9-3 spurt, capped by Andrew Nicholas’ (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) basket with 6:48 remaining to reclaim a 59-58 edge for the Blue & White.
Following a pair of Robinson drives, which gave Monmouth a 65-61 lead with3:16 left, Robinson hit a pair of free throws at 2:53 to claim a four-point lead for the Hawks. Schadrac Casimir’s three-pointer with 2:27 remaining pulled the Gaels within one, before a Jones free throw, handed Monmouth a 68-66 lead prior to English’s deciding three-point play.
David Laury tied Robinson for a game-high 24 points, while Casimir (17) and English (16) joined him in double-figures.
Monmouth, which hit 14-of-23 from the free throw line, outrebounded the Gaels 33-31. Iona, which shot 40.0% (22-55) from the floor, hit 16-of-26 from the charity stripe.
Monmouth returns to action on Thursday, February 26 when the Hawks host in-state and hOURglass rival Rider University in an 8:00 p.m. MAAC contest in the MAC on ESPN3.