Monmouth Extends Winning Streak to Nine Games After 96-90 Victory Over Princeton
Trailing by eight points with just over nine minutes to go, the Monmouth Hawks (10-2) found themselves looking for an answer. Princeton’s Devin Cannady and Steven Cook were giving Monmouth fits. Each had poured in 21 points at this point in the game. Who would the Hawks turn to?
Justin Robinson and Je’lon Hornbeak.
The two Hawk guards would go on a 16-0 run by themselves to turn an eight point deficit into an eight point advantage. Robinson was incredible during this run. He simply could not miss. He was sending defenders to the floor with his handles. He made a pair of incredible layups in traffic. He also hit a pair of triples during this spectacular MU run. He even assisted on both of Hornbeak’s threes. Robinson and Hornbeak were unstoppable in the second half and without both of them stepping up, the Hawks may have found themselves on the losing end of this one.
While that big run was fantastic, those two were the stars of the entire game; at least for Monmouth. Robinson finished the game with 27 points (23 of which came in the second half), while hitting 10 of his 18 shots. He also dished out seven assists and managed a pair of steals and a pair of rebounds. He made three of his eight three-point attempts and all four of his free throws. Hornbeak was equally spectacular. He was incredibly efficient on his way to scoring a career-high 25 points, making eight of his 13 shots and six of nine threes. He also pulled down a career-high and game-high 10 rebounds.
Some other notable performances for the Hawks were Austin Tilghman off the bench scoring 18 points on six of seven shooting and Micah Seaborn chipping in 10 points as well. Although, Seaborn certainly had his struggles, as he shot just three of 14 from the floor. Josh James scored just four points, but he only took four shots and he chipping in five rebounds, two assists, and three steals. It should also be noted that Chris Brady, Monmouth’s final starter and only starting big man, really struggled in this game. He played just 11 minutes and turned the ball over four times. He only made one of his three shot attempts and managed just a single rebound and no blocks.
As a team, the Hawks were unstoppable offensively in the second half. They shot a scorching 57.6% (19 of 33) from the floor and a scintillating 63.6% (seven of 11) from deep over the final 20 minutes. Overall on the night, they shot a still impressive 49.3% (33 of 67) from the floor and 48.3% (14 of 29) from three.
Princeton (4-6) was also very impressive offensively. Their 90 points was their second highest total of the season. Forward Steven Cooks scored a whopping 30 points on a highly efficient 12 of 18 shooting. He also hit on four of his seven threes. Guard Devin Cannady dropped his career-high 26 points on nine of 20 from the floor and pulled down eight boards. Forward Spencer Weisz scored all 10 of his points in the second half and guard Amir Bell chipping in nine points and six assists off the bench.
Some quotes from the coach and players:
“I thought that was as good of a college basketball game that I’ve been in in a long time. The back-and-forth of this game from about 10 minutes on was incredible. I trust these kids. It’s great to listen to your players, even when you think you’re the one that should know. I’ve got these guys, Justin (Robinson) Je’lon (Hornbeak), and Micah (Seaborn), that are big time scorers. Austin (Tilghman) could be a starter on this team. He gives us starter minutes and starter depth. When you score like our team can score, you think your offense should get you going. We’re the ‘defense gets you going’ group. Offense is going to get going at some point.” – Head Coach King Rice
“Definitely a great matchup. They’re a very good team and they’ll have a lot of success. I had a lot of fun out there. Just got to keep playing. Coach would tell me to keep playing. If I shoot and I miss, it’s whatever; you’ve got to keep going.” – Senior guard Justin Robinson
“Honestly, we don’t think too many games can get away from us. We’re confident in the things we do and how we dictate games. When we got down, we knew we just had to stick together, grind, and get some stops, and let our offense take off.” – Senior guard Je’lon Hornbeak
Monmouth’s next game is on the road against No. 8 North Carolina on December 28 at 7 p.m. They follow that up with a home game against Rider on December 31 at 1 p.m.
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