Monmouth Opens MAAC Play With 57-50 Win Over Marist
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Justin Robinson (Lake Katrine, N.Y./Kingston) scored all 12 of his points in the second half, while Brice Kofane (Yaounde, Cameroon/Miller School/Providence) added 11 points and seven rebounds, to help lead Monmouth to a 57-50 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opening victory at Marist in McCann Arena on Thursday night.
Robinson, who hit 4-for-6 from the floor, including a pair of three-pointers, scored five straight points late in the second half to give Monmouth a 48-40 lead with 4:16 left. Kofane, who hit 5-of-10 field goals, added two steals and a block. Robinson also notched three assists and two steals.
“I am very proud of our kids. Any time you can get a conference road victory, it really helps your confidence and your team moving forward,” said head coach King Rice. “It wasn’t our best night, but I think we are growing up and we were able to play well enough to get the win on the road.”
Monmouth opened an 8-4 lead following a Josh James (Greenburgh, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) three-pointer, Deon Jones’ (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School) three-point play and Zac Tillman’s (Yeadon, Pa./Shipley School) short hook in the lane, but a 14-4 Marist run, which included four three-pointers, gave the Red Foxes an 18-12 advantage with 12:19 left.
The Hawks responded with a 10-0 spurt of their own over a 5:14 span, to claim a 22-18 edge with 6:05 showing following an Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) drive, and the Blue & White held a 26-22 advantage with 1:56 showing on a Jones wing jumper, but Nick Coletta’s unorthodox three-point play with 0.7 ticks remaining pulled Marist within 26-25 at the break.
Robinson’s three-point play pushed the Monmouth advantage to 31-25 with 16:50 showing, before a quick 8-0 spurt, including two straight three-pointers, pushed the Red Foxes in front 33-31 with 13:47 left.
A Collin Stewart (Glenville, N.Y./Mekeel Christian Academy) steal and dunk knotted the contest at 33-33, while a Chris Brady (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields) short jumper in lane put Monmouth back in front for good, 35-33 with 11:10 left.
Marist climbed within 43-40 with 5:22 on the clock, before the five-point Robinson spurt, and Monmouth held a 54-45 advantage with 55.9 ticks left following a pair of Max DiLeo (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) free throws. The Hawks pushed their lead to as many as 10, 56-46, on a DiLeo breakaway slam.
Monmouth connected on 51.1% (24-47) from the field, held a 30-23 advantage in rebounds, and posted a commanding 40-16 edge in points in the paint, as Kofane, Brady (eight) and Tillman (four) combined for 23 points on 11-for-18 shooting and 12 rebounds, while Jones notched seven points and four boards.
“This year, our kids have done a tremendous job of focusing on the defensive end. We really focus on each individual possession, trying to get three stops in a row, and we did that a lot tonight, especially towards the end of the game, which allowed us to get the lead we had to finish this one out,” added Rice, whose team has held its opponent to 59.6 points per game in the first seven games of the season.
Monmouth (3-4 overall) returns to action on Sunday, December 7 when the Hawks host MAAC preseason favorite Iona at 4:30 in the MAC.
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