- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 30 November 2016
- Written by JOHN SORCE | SPORTS EDITOR
The men’s basketball team picked up three victories over Thanksgiving break. They defeated Cornell 76-61 on Nov. 22 and followed that up with wins over South Carolina State and a late comeback over Holy Cross in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational over the weekend.
“We’re never going to quit,” Head Coach King Rice said after the Holy Cross game. “For as long as I’ve been the head coach at Monmouth, we have never quit and our kids did not quit today.”
The Hawks were trailing Holy Cross 77-72 with 13.4 seconds left when sophomore forward Pierre Sarr laid one in, plus one, cutting the deficit to three. They then forced a five second violation on the inbound and regained possession, when redshirt sophomore guard Micah Seaborn drew a foul after scoring and converted the three-point play, giving Monmouth a 78-77 advantage with 7.5 seconds remaining. Junior guard Austin Tilghman forced a turnover and converted both free throws, giving the Hawks an 80-77 win.
“That’s just Coach Rice having confidence in me to come in and be a defensive presence,” Tilghman said about the final play. “I just knew if I could get a hand on the ball that we would be good.”
The Hawks overpowered South Carolina State the previous day, coming away with an 86-62 win and leading by as many as 28 points. Seaborn became just the second Hawk in program history to make eight three-pointers in a game, joining Dave Calloway who made nine against Pepperdine on Jan. 2, 1990. Seaborn finished the afternoon with 25 points.
“I was working with Coach Sam Ferry and then coming back and shooting at night again,” Seaborn said. “Coach Rice helped me a lot by telling me how much work I put in. He wants me to keep shooting and today I kept making shots.”
Twelve different Hawks scored in the contest and their 86 points were the most they have scored in a game since hitting 90 in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) last season against Bucknell. It was the most they have scored on the road since last Feb. 9 at Marist, where they scored 87.
In their final home game before Thanksgiving break, the blue and white bested the Cornell Big Red, 76-61 on Nov. 22. Their victory was sparked by a 25-2 run in the first half, beginning with a layup by Tilghman at 14:12 and ended with a three-pointer by senior guard Collin Stewart, which gave the Hawks a 29-9 lead at that point.
“I’m so proud of my kids,” Rice said. “We had a tough week last week and that they came out today and played as hard as they did shows how well we really play together. We did not play our best game, but we played hard, we played together and we shared the ball well.”
Senior point guard Justin Robinson led all scorers with 19 points and Sarr recorded a career-high 11 rebounds. Thirteen Hawks saw playing time and 11 scored and grabbed a rebound and everybody who saw the floor played more than five minutes.
Monmouth fell to South Carolina in overtime, 70-69, on a P.J. Dozier buzzer-beater on Nov. 15 and to No. 18 Syracuse 71-50 at the Carrier Dome on Nov. 18.
The Hawks improved to 4-2 on the season and will return to action on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. when they travel to Hamden, Connecticut to take on Quinnipiac in their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) game of the season. They return to OceanFirst Bank Center on Sunday, Dec. 4 for a 2 p.m. tip-off against Canisius.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Athletics