The Jersey Mike’s Jersey Shore Basketball League has been in existence for over 50 years and numerous great players have participated in the League. NBA players like Rod Strickland and Samuel Dalembert have played in the JSBL and improved their skills for the upcoming season.

Players from Monmouth University are no exception as six current Hawks are on teams in the JSBL. Three of those players were on display earlier this week as Collin Stewart, Louie Pillari and Justin Robinson faced off against each other as Team Shore took on Seaview Jeep in the first game of the playoffs.

Robinson, Pillari and Stewart all had big games as Seaview Jeep prevailed 127-122 in triple overtime. The game was hotly contested throughout and with every passing minute, the pressure seemed to mount. Stewart did not seem phased by the pressure as he poured in 29 points, including six three pointers. He looked comfortable out on the perimeter, shooting threes over smaller defenders with ease.  He was also successful in putting the ball on the floor and driving by his man and even brought the ball up the court at times in what turned out to be a losing effort.

Robinson and Pillari also responded to the big moment as they scored 44 combined points in the win for Seaview Jeep. Robinson had 29 points and drove by his defenders at will. His ability to get to the rack greatly helped his teammates and Monmouth fans will see more of the same this winter. Pillari had 15 points and it seemed each of his baskets came during pivotal moments of the game. He says playing in big games was fun and was there to help the team. “It was fun,” Pillari said of the game. “It was a good environment with a lot of people here. Just trying to play and help my team out any way I can.”

The outstanding performances by the Monmouth trio is good news for Hawks fans as the players look to improve on a season where the team won a school record 28 games. Robinson won MAAC Player of the Year honors, scoring 19.3 points per game, while Stewart was a vital reserve for Monmouth contributing seven points per game.  Pillari redshirted last year and will get his first dose of college basketball action this season when Monmouth opens their season against Drexel. He says playing well in big games will help him when games matter later in the season.  “This is just to get my feet wet again,” said Pillari. “I haven’t played a real game in a while. Get the jitters out, so I think that’ll help me.”

Pillari’s good play in the JSBL could give Monmouth a real boost heading into the new season. With Robinson back and an increased role for Stewart, the Hawks could be headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.

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