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Monmouth’s Dream Season Ends At Hands Of George Washington, 87-71, In NIT

(Photo by Rob Samuels - Double G Media)

(Photo by Rob Samuels – Double G Media)

 

Going into their game against the George Washington Colonials, the Monmouth Hawks had lofty goals. Win against George Washington and the Hawks would advance to the quarterfinals of their first ever NIT and get ever closer to Madison Square Garden, the site of the tournament’s “Final Four”.

Unfortunately for Monmouth, they ran into a Colonial team on Monday night who are also trying to prove a point after being snubbed from the NCAA Tournament themselves. The result was an 87-71 victory for George Washington over Monmouth at the MAC that ends Monmouth’s season.

The crowd of over 3,400 saw Monmouth have possibly their worst shooting game of the season as GW were able to force the Hawks into taking deep shots. While those deep shots would have fallen for Monmouth this season, their luck ended as they shot just 34 percent from the field and a dismal 19 percent from three-point land.

“We didn’t play our best ball but that was because of their physicality and their size, so give George Washington a lot of credit,” said Monmouth head coach King Rice.

Meanwhile George Washington shot a 53 percent from the field in the first half. Much of their success came from getting the ball inside to Tyler Cavanaugh early and often in the matchup. The Hawks had no answers for Cavanaugh and Patrcio Garino as the Colonials were able to knock down four first half three-point baskets en route to a 37-33 lead at the half. The Hawks were able to cut the GW lead down to one early in the second half but the Colonials were just too much for the Hawks as GW continued to knock down shot after shot.

Justin Robinson, the MAAC Player of the Year, was held to six points on 2-of-16 shooting from the field. The 5-foot-8 guard was being hounded by 6-foot-8 Yuta Watanabe throughout the game and while the foot height advantage was a factor, it wasn’t the major culprit for his Robinson’s game according to the man himself.

“I’ve seen longer defenders all season,” Robinson said. “Drexel threw a 6-7 defender on me. When we play pickup in the summer, I’m going against Micah (Seaborn), who’s 6-5, or Deon (Jones), who’s 6-6. Seeing a longer defender isn’t anything different. I just wasn’t hitting shots.”

George Washington was led by Cavanaugh who finished with a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds while Guarino finished with 19 points. With the win, George Washington moves on to host Florida in the NIT quarterfinals at home on Wednesday.

Monmouth was led by Seaborn who scored a game high 24 points.

For Monmouth, the 2015-2016 season was nothing short amazing. A 28-8 record and MAAC regular season champions is something that the program has aimed for since joining the conference. And the best part of their season is that they are only losing one player to graduation (Deon Jones) so the rest of the team will be aiming to exceed their season this coming fall/winter. Here are some of the highlights from Monmouth’s season.

  • 28 wins (School Record)
  • 2015-2016 MAAC Regular Season Champions and #1 Seed in MAAC Tournament
  • Number One Ranking In Mid-Major Poll
  • First Ever Appearance in NIT
  • 13 True Road Wins
  • Two Wins Over Top 50 Teams (Notre Dame, UCLA)

“I’m going to be able to look back at some point and think this was a pretty cool run,” Rice said. “Right now, I’m bummed. I don’t think I helped them enough, and we wanted to do a lot of special things for Deon and this group. “We had a lot of firsts happen for these guys this year, and at some point we will look back at it and know it was a pretty good year.”

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for DoubleGSports.com as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow DoubleGSports.com writer Jason Cordner.
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