Monmouth Thoroughly Dominates Fairfield for Sixth Straight Win
It was never in doubt. The Monmouth Hawks cruised to a 91-49 victory over the Fairfield Stags Sunday afternoon.
The Hawks got out to a 50-24 halftime lead and never looked back. The 42 point win was the largest margin of victory in King Rice’s career as a head coach. Monmouth’s record now sits at 16-5 overall and 8-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, good for first place.
The Hawks are also now on a six-game winning streak after dropping three in a row. Fairfield falls to 8-11 (3-7 in the MAAC).
While the Hawks put up a lot of points in this one, they won this game with their excellent defensive effort. They held the Stags to just 49 points, the lowest total they allowed all season. They also limited the Stags to just 29.3% (17-58) shooting from the floor and 19.2% (5-26) shooting from beyond the arc. Those stats don’t even begin to tell the whole story.
Monmouth’s relentless effort and hustle was very apparent in this contest. They forced 23 turnovers, 11 of which were steals. Je’Lon Hornbeak led the team with four of them. They also blocked eight shots, led by Chris Brady and Sam Ibiezugbe each with three. The Hawks also did a very good job limiting free throw attempts as Fairfield only took 15 foul shots and made 10 of them.
Monmouth was also dominant on the glass, as they out-rebounded Fairfield 57 to 32. It was an excellent all-around effort on the boards as nine different Hawks had at least four rebounds. Freshman forward Mustapha Traore led the team with nine rebounds in 18 minutes and Brady collected seven boards in just 13 minutes of action. Ibiezugbe had six rebounds in his 13 minutes as well. The Hawks also grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, compared to just six for Fairfield.
Complimenting their excellent defense was an aggressive and balanced offensive attack. The Hawks weren’t very efficient, shooting just 41.4% (29-70) from the floor. However, they were knocking down their threes, shooting 42.9% (9-21) from deep. They also attempted a lot of three throws, taking 32 of them and making 24 for a solid 75% clip. Monmouth also did a nice job limiting turnovers, as they had just 14 of them, but the ball movement could have been better as they managed just 12 assists.
The scoring was very balanced for the Hawks. Senior guard Justin Robinson scored a highly efficient 20 points, as he made six of his eight shot attempts, including four of five from three, and he hit four of his six free throws. Guards Collin Stewart and Louie Pillari each chipped in 13 points off the bench.
The 13 points for Pillari was a career high for the freshman. They also got 10 points from sophomore guard Micah Seaborn, but he struggled from the floor, making just two of his 14 shot attempts.
All 12 active Hawks played in this game and only two of them (forward Pierre Sarr and center Sam Ibiezugbe) didn’t get on the scoreboard.
Quotes from players and coaches:
“Our team was extremely ready today on the defensive end. Right from the beginning, we were guarding the ball. We didn’t get hit by back-doors and when they did them we were in position. That might have been our best defensive effort since I’ve been here. Defensively, we’ve had some pretty good efforts, but that was pretty incredible today. Today, our defense did a great job of guarding their kids one-on-one and we were able to get away from them because of our defense.” – Head Coach King Rice
“I don’t know if they were overwhelmed. I wasn’t really too focused on what they were doing. I was trying to make sure my team was getting stop after stop.” – Senior Guard Justin Robinson
Monmouth (16-5) hosts Quinnipiac (8-11) on Friday January 27 at 7 p.m.
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