MONMOUTH BASKETBALL CONCLUDES 27-WIN SEASON AGAINST OLE MISS IN NIT
Justin Robinson (Lake Katrine, NY/Kingston) closed out his storied career with a game-high 23 points, scoring his 2000th point on a three-pointer late in the second half. Je’lon Hornbeak (Arlington, TX/Grace Prep [Oklahoma]) finished second in scoring with 18 points, all coming from beyond the arc. It was just the second time this season that Monmouth fell at home. It was the final game for seniors Robinson, Hornbeak, Chris Brady (Greenlawn, NY/Harborfields), Josh James (Greenburgh, NY/Archbishop Stepinac) and Collin Stewart (Glenville, NY/Mekeel Christian Academy) who led the Hawks to 55 wins over the last two seasons and back-to-back Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season titles.
Monmouth started hot, going 4-for-5 on from the floor to take an 11-7 lead over the Rebels early. The Hawks cooled off and Ole Miss went on a 10-3 run to take its first lead of the game heading into the second media break. Louie Pillari’s (Tinton Falls, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy) corner trey knotted the game up at 21 with just over nine minutes to play in the opening stanza. Hornbeak’s three pointer with 7:54 left put MU up 26-22, with Monmouth holding a 42-39 advantage going into halftime.
The teams traded buckets and leads over the first 13 minutes of the second half with Ole Miss holding a 70-67 lead with 7:18 left in regulation. Robinson banged home a three to cut the Rebel lead to three at 76-73 but Ole Miss responded with a 5-0 run to take its largest lead of the game with 3:12 left. Hornbeak and Robinson hit a pair of threes with under two minutes to play to cut the Rebel lead to five but Sebastian Saiz hit a layup to put the game out of reach for the Hawks.
NOTES AND QUOTES
“It’s hard to be down when you realize what we’ve done in our careers. It hurts but it’s hard to be down about it.” –senior guard Justin Robinson
“The younger guys had a season with the guys who changed Monmouth University. Not just the basketball team, everything. – head coach King Rice
§ Justin Robinson scored his 2000th career point came on a three pointer with 4:33 to play.
§ He becomes the second Hawk ever to score 2,000 points, joining Ron Kornegay.
§ The game was played with the new “experimental rules”, including no one-and-one foul shooting and fouls resetting after the first 10 minutes of the half.
§ Monmouth first team all-conference selection Micah Seaborn did not play in the game due to injury, his second career missed game.
§ The Hawks finished the season 13-2 at home and 24-4 over the last two seasons
§ Monmouth’s defense forced 16 Ole Miss turnovers.
§ Austin Tilghman made his first career start.
§ Chris Brady finished his career with 150 blocks, third all time.
§ Robinson notched a game high seven assists, moving into second all time alone.
§ Robinson finished as just the second player in school history to play 4,000 minutes.
§ Monmouth converted 8-of-19 three pointers in the first half
§ The lead changed a total of 12 times, including seven times in the first half
§ Robinson finished with 23 points and seven assists. It marked his 42nd career game with at least 20 points
§ After Monmouth led 42-39 heading into the second half, Ole Miss outscored the Hawks 52-41 in the second half
§ Robinson played a game-high 40 minutes
§ MAAC Sixth Man of the Year Austin Tilghman (Wilmington, DE/Archbishop Carroll [PA]) started for the first time in his career, and scored in double-figures for the ninth time this season
§ Diago Quinn (New York City, NY/Lake Forest Academy [IL]) scored a career-high 11 points in the loss.
§ Sebastian Saiz finished with the game’s only double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The Hawks finished the 2016-17 season with an overall record of 27-7, the first time in school history MU has posted 20+ wins in consecutive seasons.