WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ- For the second time in program history, Monmouth has won back-to-back conference regular season titles, clinching the MAAC regular season crown behind 27 points from Justin Robinson (Lake Katrine, NY/Kingston) in beating Niagara, 93-75.
Niagara opened the half on a 6-0 run, but consecutive triples from Robinson and Je’lon Hornbeak (Arlington, TX/Grace Prep/Oklahoma) made it a 20-point game. The lead didn’t get inside 20 from 12:50 until the final minute of the game, and the Hawks ended up topping Niagara 93-75.
Monmouth led by 18 at the break after Austin Tilghman (Wilmington, DE/Archbishop Carroll) hit from beyond half court, doing so after grabbing a rebound on a Niagara miss. A 7-0 Monmouth run after the Purple Eagles trimmed it to two made it a Monmouth nine-point lead. The lead went to 13 on a Tilghman layup, and Robinson knocked in one of his five first-half threes to extend it to 15. When Niagara cut it down to 10, a 5-0 run made it 15 before the Hawks led 54-36 at the break.
NOTES AND QUOTES“Tonight we got going, we shot the ball very well…. I wanted a fast, fast game and I wanted them shooting the ball on the break before Niagara got back.” –head coach King Rice
“Any time you win the league, right now we’re four games up, that’s pretty cool and that says a lot for these young men right here to come every night and in a tough league like the MAAC, to win the championship and be up four games.” –King Rice
“It’s the first step of our major goal. We wanted to get to this point so that in the end we solidified postseason play. In the end, this is not where we want to be and we’re not cheering like we’re done because we still have goals to accomplish.” –senior guard Justin Robinson
-Monmouth has won the MAAC regular season in consecutive years for the first time ever.
-MU last won back-to-back conference regular season titles in the NEC in 2003-04 and 2004-05.
-The Hawks are the first team in the nation to clinch a postseason spot across the NCAA.
-Monmouth has won 13 consecutive games, a program record and third longest streak in the nation.
-MU is now off to the best start in school history at 23-5 and 15-2 in the MAAC.
-The Blue and White clinch the #1 seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming MAAC Tournament.
-Je’lon Hornbeak got to double digits for the sixth game in a row, scoring 16 points.
-Chris Brady recorded three blocks, his 14th multi-block game of the season.
-Monmouth is 8-0 vs. Niagara since joining the league.
-MU reached 90+ points for the 10th time this season.
-The current Monmouth senior class has 80 wins, the most in four years in school history.
-Robinson became the sixth Hawk to play 3,800+ minutes in a career.
-This marks the second year in a row that MU clinched the regular season at home vs. Niagara.
-Every Hawk scored tonight, with 13 players getting time.
-MU dominated on the fast break, 20-6.
-The Hawks outrebounded Niagara 53-27.
-Justin Robinson knocked in seven threes for the second game in a row, hitting eight at Siena.
-Josh James grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds.
-MU collected 22 offensive boards, a season high.
-Monmouth is at Fairfield on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.