Full Court Press: Monmouth Seeks Revenge, Beat Goes on For UConn WBB, Ivy Getting Busy
Revenge is the operative word as all eyes this evening will be on the MAAC matchup between league-leading Monmouth (18-5, 10-2 MAAC) and St. Peter’s (12-10, 8-4). The Peacock’s surprised King Rice’s Hawks on Jan. 6 when they walked away with a decisive 92-74 victory on their home court.
However, the Hawks are riding an eight-game winning streak and a win over the Peacocks tonight will put some distance between one of their biggest challengers for the MAAC regular season title. The other challenger is red-hot Iona (15-8, 8-4), which is riding a five-game winning streak.
Iona and Monmouth will not meet again until the final week of the regular season (Feb. 26) and if the Hawks take care of business they will have wrapped-up the regular season crown. That game will take on a different twist as each team will be looking to take some momentum into the MAAC Tournament with the tournament champ getting the NCAA automatic bid.
The Hawks dynamic point guard and leading scorer Justin Robinson (18.6 ppg) continues his assault on the MU record books. On Jan. 30 Robinson became the program’s Div. 1 career scoring leader when his three-pointer allowed him to surpass the previous record holders, John Giraldo and Alex Blackwell (1,749 points).
Entering tonight’s contest with St. Peter’s the senior has 1,761 points. Ron Kornegay holds the all-time school record (2,526 points from 1966-69).
In addition to the scoring record, Robinson will make his 118th career start against St. Peter’s, allowing him to eclipse the previous mark of 117 set by James Hett. Robinson has started every game since getting the nod against West Virginia in 2014.
Monmouth announced that following tonight’s game, they will honor the all-time leading scorers in program history. The ceremony will include Justin Robinson and coach King Rice along with MU Hall of Famers Kornegay, Blackwell, and Giraldo as well as former coach Dave Calloway. Longtime assistant coach, Ron Krayl, who also served as Monmouth’s head coach for a brief stint in 1986-87, will also be a part of the festivities.
Tonight’s game at the OceanFirst Bank Center (7 p.m.) will be televised on ESPN3 with play-by-play by Robert Lee and his side kick Rob Kennedy. The radio call is on WMCX 88.9 FM with Matt DeLuca and Nick Halper at the mike.
The Name Game
There are three Justin Robinson’s that play Division 1 men’s college basketball this season.
In addition to Monmouth’s Robinson there is a Justin playing a significant role on the hardcourt for Virginia Tech and the other playing for Coach K at Duke.
You may have been wondering and, yes, the Duke Robinson is the son of ‘The Admiral’ – All-American at the Naval Academy and NBA great – David Robinson.
Since Dr. James Naismith (Kansas University’s first basketball coach) was credited with inventing the game of basketball in 1891 there has been a lot of major milestones reached in this great sport.
You can add the 2016/17 UConn Huskies women’s basketball team to that list as they have racked up a 96-game winning streak – and still counting. The streak started on Nov. 23, 2014 with a 96-60 win over Creighton.
Most of the basketball experts had written off Geno Auriemma’s Huskies, reasoning that last year’s NCAA title run would mark the end of an era – but the beat goes on in Storrs.
To me, one stat during the streak that is overlooked, but most impressive, is the UConn road record. The Huskies have won their last 35 games on the road, a mark which ties the men’s record set by Kansas in 1924/28 – yep almost a century ago!!!
The Ivies have their first full weekend of back-to-back games and it should give everyone an indication of who will have a leg up to qualify for the first Ivy League Basketball Tournament.
Yale (3-1) and Columbia (3-1) square off tonight in New York City while Princeton (3-0) and Harvard (3-1) do battle Saturday night in Cambridge.
Congratulations to James Jones, the dean of Ivy League coaches, who became Yale’s all-time leader with 144 Ivy League victories.
Harvard’s dynamic freshman point guard Bryce Aikens (Randolph, NJ) leads the Crimson in scoring (13.3 ppg). Aikens poured in 21 points in a recent game against Cornell.
The Ivy League will host its first postseason basketball tournament on Saturday and Sunday March 11-12 at the Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa. The top four teams in the regular season standings will earn berths in the tournament and play for a berth in the NCAA tournament. The ESPN family of networks will broadcast all the games.
I like Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia.
This is the time of the year to keep an eye out for teams trending in the right direction as March approaches.
Keep your eye on the Arizona Wildcats, Maryland Terps and Louisville Cardinals who have impressed since the first of the year.
I believe this year’s NCAA champ will come from one of the Power 5 conferences.
It’s still early but I am leaning toward the Kansas Jayhawks and Carolina Tar Heels in the final game.
March Madness Tournament dates:
AAC – XL Center – Hartford – (March 9-12)
ACC – Barclay Center – New York City – (March 7-11)
A-10 – PPG Arena – Pittsburgh – (March 8-12)
Big East – Madison Square Garden – (March 7-11,)
Ivy League – The Palestra – Philadelphia – (March 11-12)
Colonial Athletic Association – North Charleston Coliseum – Charleston (March 3-6)
MAAC – Times Union Center – Albany – March (2-6)
Did you know?
Speaking of streaks the longest professional winning streak belongs to Pakistani squash player Jahangir Khan who won 555 matches, in a five year period of dominance, between 1981/86
I like Matt Ryan and the Falcon’s!
Keep shooting…. see you next week….
Follow Bob on Twitter for all the latest in college hoop happenings, game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob
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