Senior Day Win for Monmouth 63-57
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Highlighted by a double-double of a game-high 22 points and a career-high 13 rebounds from Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School), Monmouth defeated Siena 63-57 on the final day of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action in the MAC on Senior Day.
With the comeback victory, Monmouth improved to 17-14 overall and 13-7 in league play, and claimed the No. 4 seed in the upcoming tournament.
Jones, who went 1-2-for-16 from the free throw line, posted 18 points and eight rebounds in the second half for the Hawks, who trailed 45-34 with 10:53 remaining.
Joining Jones in double-digits were Justin Robinson (Lake Katrine, N.Y./Kingston), who added 16 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals, and Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York), who totaled 11 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists.
“I am very proud of my kids, my team, for sticking together and continuing to believe on Senior Day that we could get the win,” stated head coach King Rice. “I am proud that we got to 13 [wins] in the league. That is a credit to our kids for working spring-time, summer-time, in the fall, and continuing to work during the season. I am happy to be the coach at Monmouth.”
Five straight points from Andrew Nicholas gave Monmouth an early 5-2 lead on the senior’s three-pointer, while Deon Jones connected on a pair of free throws to give the Hawks a 7-2 advantage with 15:46 showing. A Collin Stewart three-pointer pushed the Hawks in front 12-9, but the Saints used a 9-2 spurt to take an 18-14 cushion with 8:06 remaining.
Siena increased its run to 19-7 to go ahead 28-19 with 3:20 on the clock, before the Hawks climbed within 28-24, ignited by four straight from Justin Robinson, with 1:55 left, but the Saint held a 30-24 edge at the intermission following Maurice White’s putback.
Ryan Oliver, who led the Saints with 18 points, gave Siena its 11-point lead with 10:53 left on a jump shot, before a 17-5 Monmouth run, capped by a pair of Jones’ free throws, gave the Hawks a 51-50 lead with 5:03 showing.
Oliver hit his fourth three-pointer to reclaim a 53-51 lead for the Saints 27 seconds later, but Robinson’s three-pointer with 1:09 on the clock, put Monmouth ahead for good, 56-55. Two more Jones foul shots, plus a one-handed slam off a feed from Robinson, put the Blue & White in front 60-55 with 21.2 left.
Free throws from Robinson and Max DiLeo (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) accounted for the 63-57 final in the final 15 seconds of action.
Monmouth outrebounded Siena 47-29, with a season-high 24 offensive rebounds, which turned into 17 second chance points. The Hawks went 21-for-28 from the foul line.
Sunday was the final home game for seniors Nicholas, DiLeo, Brice Kofane (Yaounde, Cameroon/Miller School/Providence) and Mike DeLorenzo (Hackettstown, N.J./Hackettstown).
Monmouth returns to action on Saturday, March 7 when the Hawks take on No. 5 seed Canisius at 2:30 p.m. in the Times Union Center in the MAAC Tournament Quarterfinals on ESPN3.