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Courtesy: Karlee Sell

MONMOUTH CLOSES REGULAR SEASON AT IONA WITH 16TH STRAIGHT WIN, 79-73

Courtesy: Monmouth Sports Information
         
Release: February 26, 2017
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NEW ROCHELLE, NY- Monmouth’s men’s basketball team became the first team in MAAC history to win 18 league games, doing so behind 25 Je’lon Hornbeak (Arlington, TX/Grace Prep/Oklahoma) points at Iona Sunday afternoon to conclude the regular season. MU has now won 16 consecutive games, the second longest streak in the nation.

Monmouth never trailed in the second half, but Iona did rally to tie at 5:56 on a Sam Cassell Jr. layup. Josh James (Greenburgh, NY/Archbishop Stepinac) ripped off five points in 10 seconds, including a three from the wing before stealing a pass and laying it in to make it 66-61 Monmouth. EJ Crawford cut it to two with a triple, but MU wouldn’t lead by less than four the rest of the way. Hornbeak’s fifth three of the game made it a seven-point MU lead with under three minutes to play, and the Gaels trimmed it to four but no closer as the Hawks held on to win their 16th game in a row.

The start of the contest was a defensive battle, with the teams tied 2-2 heading into the first media break. Five straight points from Stewart and Tilghman cut the lead to one. On possession later the Hawks took the lead for the first time in the game when Tilghman dished to Diago Quinn (New York, NY/Lake Forest Academy) who laid it in with just under 10 minutes to play in the half. Monmouth’s largest lead of the half came at the 6:13 mark when senior Hornbeak hit an open three pointer to put MU up 23-19. Iona stayed in the game by hitting three pointers in the final four minutes that saw the lead change three times. Monmouth took a 35-32 lead into the break on a Tilghman buzzer beater from 25 feet away.

NOTES AND QUOTES
“I thought that was a fun college basketball game. I thought my guys played hard and we were able to play well enough because it’s not easy to get a win here.” – head coach King Rice

“Now a new season starts, and you have to ramp up a lot more.” –King Rice
“To come out here with these guys next to me and do something special in front of my home town people is great.” –senior guard Josh James

-Monmouth is the first MAAC team ever to win 18 league games.

-The Hawks have won 16 consecutive games, the second longest streak in the nation behind Vermont.
-The win marks the first time Monmouth has ever swept Iona, and is the first time Iona has been swept under Tim Cluess in MAAC play.
-Je’lon Hornbeak tied a career high with 25 points, and is now two points shy of 1,000 for his career, including his first two seasons at Oklahoma.
-Justin Robinson concludes the regular season having scored in double figures in 29 of 31 games.
-26 wins is the most Monmouth has ever recorded in a regular season.
-Chris Brady grabbed 10 rebounds for the sixth time this season.
-Austin Tilghman set a career high with nine rebounds.
-Monmouth concludes the regular season having swept eight MAAC teams.
-Tilghman hit a three at the first-half buzzer for the second time this year.

NUMBERS CRUNCH
-MU led for 26:46 on the night.

-The Hawks outshot Iona 47.1% to 40.3%.
-The game was tied six times and featured seven lead changes.
-The Hawks were outrebounded by one, 38-37.

UP NEXT

-Monmouth takes on the winner of the #8/#9 seed game between Quinnipiac and Niagara on Friday evening in Albany in the MAAC Tournament quarterfinals.

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