Monmouth Cruises in Win Over Cornell
The Monmouth Hawks got a big win on Tuesday night, beating Cornell by a score of 76-61 to get to 2-2 on the season. The Hawks’ lead got as big as 21 in the first half and up to 22 in the second, so this game was never really in doubt. The early lead allowed Monmouth to cruise through the second half, playing most of the bench players late in the game. 11 different players played at least 11 minutes. Monmouth trailed 4-7 early, but went on a 25-2 run to blow the game wide open.
MU came into the game averaging roughly 65 points per game, so this was a hot night offensively. They shot 43.9 percent from the game as well as 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. They also hit 10 of 13 free throws. Senior guard Justin Robinson was the star offensively. He put in 19 points on six of 11 shooting in his 21 minutes of action. He drained all four of his threes as well. His quick handle and shooting ability were both on display tonight. Since the Hawks were able to empty the bench early, nobody played more than 21 minutes, leading to more balanced scoring from the rest of the team. Robinson was the only player in double figures, but several other guys chipped in.
Another standout from this game was senior center Chris Brady. He dominated the paint especially on defense. He blocked three shots and pulled down eight rebounds (three of which were on the offensive end). He also notched a pair of steals. It wasn’t just about the stats for Brady, though. His sheer presence down low was huge for the Hawks. The Hawks allowed just 20 points in the paint and Brady was a big reason why. The entire Monmouth defense stepped up tonight, forcing 15 turnovers (including nine steals) and six blocks as a team. MU also out-rebounded Cornell 48 to 37. Sophomore forward Pierre Sarr led the Hawks with 11 boards.
The whole MU bench was impressive in this one. Junior guard Austin Tilghman was the bench’s leading scorer with nine. Sophomore forward Diago Quinn put up another eight and the two freshmen Louie Pillari and Sam Ibiezugbe each scored six. As a unit, the Hawks bench scored 38, compared to 30 bench points for Cornell.
Cornell was led by sophomore guard Troy Whiteside and sophomore forward Stone Gettings in scoring, as they each put up 14 points. Senior guard Darryl Smith was their only other player in double figures, as he scored 12. Cornell really struggled offensively as a team, shooting just 36.1 percent from the floor and 23.5 percent from three. They really had trouble from the free throw line, making just nine of their 18 attempts. They also had 15 turnovers to just eight assists as a team.
Some quotes from the coach and players:
“I’m so proud of my kids, we had a tough week last week and that they came out today and played as hard as they did…I thought we really played together. We did not play our best game but we played extremely hard and we played together and we shared the ball and played together. Those are the things that I’ve been talking about and trying to get them to understand. Tonight we were able to get away from them a little bit, then they get back in it, and we get away again. I am totally happy with how it went tonight. I think they [Cornell] just came off a very big win. It was a dangerous game for us and our kids did a great job tonight.” – Coach King Rice
“First couple games the guards have been getting me the ball where they need to be for me to score. Going big is nothing new to me. I played a little forward my freshman year with Zac [Tillman], so it’s nothing new to me. I can pass from the high post inside. I’m looking for him [Diago Quinn] because we play against each other every day (in practice) and we know what each other can do. I know if I throw the ball in to Diago, he’s going to go up strong and finish or get fouled. – Center Chris Brady
“For me, I just wanted to come in and be aggressive, attack the paint, get my teammates open, and defend hard on defense. If my guys see me defend hard, they ‘D’ up. Once we get our defense flowing, it gets our offense going to a different level. That’s why we were able to go up in the first half.” – Guard Austin Tilghman
“Staying together throughout the course of the game, that’s been our big thing since I’ve been here and the past week especially. Making sure we stay together through the ups and downs, ins and outs, and making sure we are together all the time.” – Senior guard Justin Robinson
Monmouth faces South Carolina State in their next game. It’ll be played on Saturday at 1 p.m. and will be at the Hart Center in Worcester Massachusetts as part of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational. That game will be followed up by a game against Holy Cross on Sunday at noon.
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