Monmouth Rallies Past Canisius 73-68
BUFFALO, NY – Led by four players in double-figures, Monmouth rallied from a 13-point first half deficit to storm back to capture a 73-68 victory at Canisius in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play on Friday night at the Koessler Athletic Center.
Paced by Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) and Justin Robinson (Lake Katrine, N.Y./Kingston), who each netted 14 points, the Hawks improved to 6-7 overall and move to 3-0 in conference action.
In a battle of a pair of 2-0 MAAC teams, Monmouth took the lead for good with 5:07 remaining in the game on Chris Brady’s (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields) putback slam, which made the score 57-55, and the Hawks pushed the lead to as many as seven, 67-60, with 48.2 seconds left on a pair of Austin Tilghman (Wilmington, Del./Archbishop Carroll) free throws.
Joining Nicholas and Robinson in double-figures were Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School), who added 11 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Tilghman notched a career-best 11 points, all of which came in the second half.
“Tonight was a great road win for the Monmouth Hawks,” stated head coach King Rice. “I am so proud of my kids for continuing to believe and fight throughout the game, even when we got down 13 points. Give Canisius a lot of credit. They are a very good team, but tonight our kids truly believed for 40 minutes and kept going after it, and did not hang their heads at all. Different guys became the main guys tonight. I’ve been telling them our team will win a lot of games, and tonight our team won this game.”
A pair of Zach Lewis three-pointers gave Canisius an 8-2 edge with 17:04 left, before five straight points from Justin Robinson got the Hawks within 8-7 with 14:45 showing. A 7-0 Griffs spurt, capped by consecutive Kevin Bleeker lay-ins, pushed Canisius ahead 15-7, while Robinson’s three with 6:05 left pulled Monmouth within 20-18.
The Golden Griffins answered with an 11-0 run over 1:47 of action to claim a 31-18 advantage with 3:55 remaining, as Lewis connected on three straight treys for CC. Jones’ three-point play halted the streak at the 3:40 mark and ignited a 14-3 run by the Hawks over the remainder of the stanza as Monmouth trailed 34-32 at the break, highlighted by a Robinson trey and back-to-back three-pointers from Nicholas.
Another Jones traditional three-point play pulled the Hawks within a pair, 41-39, with 15:49 left, but a 7-0 spurt from the Griffs pushed Canisius back in front 49-41 with 12:41 showing. After Collin Stewart’s (Glenville, N.Y./Mekeel Christian Academy) three-pointer got MU within 49-47, the Griffs claimed a 55-50 advantage on another Lewis trey at the 6:52 mark.
The Hawks responded with a 9-0 run over 2:16 of action to haul in a 59-55 edge on Stewart’s jumper in the lane with 4:23 left, and Monmouth connected on nine free throws in the final two minutes of action to seal the road win.
Monmouth, which connected on 21-of-27 from the foul line, turned 15 Canisius turnovers in 24 points, while the bench outscored CC 38-18 overall. The Hawks, who hit 6-of-13 from beyond the arc in the first half alone, shot 41.5% (22-53) from the field.
Zac Tillman (Yeadon, Pa./Shipley School), who went 3-for-3 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line, added eight points, while Stewart notched eight as well. Brady tallied seven rebounds for the Hawks.
Lewis, who hit eight three-pointers, led all scorers with a career-high 31 points for Canisius (7-5, 2-1 MAAC).
Monmouth, off to a 3-0 start in conference play for the first time since the 2004-05 season, returns to action on Sunday, January 4 when the Hawks travel to Niagara University for a 2:00 p.m. MAAC contest with the Purple Eagles in the Gallagher Center.
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