Monmouth tops another ‘major’ school 73-67
PISCATAWAY, NJ – Monmouth University’s men’s basketball team continued its stellar non-conference run Sunday, beating in-state rival Rutgers 73-67 at The RAC to claim its fifth win over a high-major program this season and the program’s first over a Big Ten member.
Three Hawks worked into double-figures and senior guard Deon Jones (Wilmington, DE/Sanford School [Towson]) registered his 1,000th career point at Monmouth in the second half as the Hawks improved to 8-3 and Rutgers fell to 4-7.
“I’m very fortunate to have these young men on my team believing in what we do,” said head coach King Rice. “They made just enough plays today for us to get the win.”
With the score tied at 67, Chris Brady (Greenlawn, NY/Harborfields) scored from the right block to give Monmouth the lead with 59 seconds left. Following a Rutgers timeout, Mike Williams missed a three from the right corner and Jones skied for the rebound, sending an outlet to Justin Robinson (Lake Katrine, NY/Kingston) who was fouled and made one. With 14 seconds left in a three-point game, Corey Sanders missed from deep and MU hit 3-of-4 from the line in the final 10 seconds to secure the victory.
Monmouth built up a lead as big as 13 in the second half, doing so for the final time with 8:34 to go when freshman Diago Quinn (New York, NY/Lake Forest Academy [IL]) made the second of two free throws. Rutgers followed that up with a 10-0 run in 2:32, getting a Williams lay-in followed by five straight points from Bishop Daniels. That trimmed the MU lead to 61-58 with 5:52 to play.
Brady extended Monmouth’s lead to five from the inside at the 5:23 mark, and after Corey Sanders knocked in a trey, Jones got to the bucket to push MU’s lead back to four with 4:09 left. D.J. Foreman nailed a three with 3:02 remaining to slice the lead to one, and RU had a chance to go in front with 2:17 left. Williams split a pair of free throws to tie the score at 65, and Jones and Daniels traded baskets before MU went on a 6-0 late push to win 73-67.
Rutgers trimmed MU’s halftime lead of six down to one on a Williams take early in the period, but Monmouth upped that lead to 11 after a Jones drive at 12:52, his 1,000th point in a Monmouth uniform. During that stretch, Josh James (Greenburgh, NY/Archbishop Stepinac) poured in six of his eight points. Robinson then rolled up the left side on the break and threw a perfect lob for Collin Stewart (Glenville, NY/Mekeel Christian Academy) who threw it down to make the score 54-41 in favor of the Blue and White.
Zac Tillman (Yeadon, PA/Shipley School) scored the final four points of the first half for Monmouth, including a layup as time expired to give the Hawks a 37-31 halftime lead. Monmouth, which led by as many as 10 in the opening half, took a lead on an Austin Tilghman (Wilmington, DE/Archbishop Carroll) wide-open drive with 9:04 to play in the stanza and didn’t trail again in the period. Hornbeak pulled up from deep in the left wing and buried a long ball to give MU a 25-17 lead, and Jones attacked from the right baseline to extend the margin to double-digits on the next possession.
Rutgers trimmed the lead to four multiple times down the stretch of the opening period, the latest coming with eight seconds to play in the half when Corey Sanders got fouled from three and knocked in the trio from the foul line before Tillman extended the lead back to six at the buzzer.
Brady got Monmouth on the board at the 18:27 mark with a left-elbow jumper before the junior center fought for a loose ball on the baseline on the next possession, hitting Robinson in rhythm from deep to make it 5-3 MU at 17:34. Robinson banged home a triple from the same spot at the 14:25 mark to give MU an 8-6 edge.
On the game, Robinson led Monmouth with 14 points on 5-for-11, while Jones added 12 points and nine rebounds and Stewart posted 11 points. Brady also contributed nine points and 10 boards while Tilghman scored six points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists. James added eight and four rebounds. Sanders had 16 for RU, Williams scored 15 and Daniels added 12 while Foreman grabbed 11 boards and Greg Lewis snagged 10.
The Hawks outshot the Scarlet Knights 46% to 30.2% and outrebounded the home team 44-41. MU outpaced Rutgers on the fast break 14-2, and dominated points in the paint to the tune of 42-14. The Hawks bench also outscored the RU substitutes 35-15. The win marked Monmouth’s first against Rutgers in program history and first against a Big Ten opponent. MU now has seven road/neutral site victories on the season and has won four consecutive games for the first time since February 8-19 of last season.
Monmouth heads to Cornell to take on the Big Red on Wednesday night, December 23. Tip is set for 6:00 p.m. in Ithaca, NY.