- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 01 February 2017
- Written by JOHN SORCE | SPORTS EDITOR
All senior point guard Justin Robinson has ever cared about was winning. That approach to his game has led him to become the D1 scoring leader for Monmouth men’s basketball.
Robinson eclipsed the mark at the 13:39 mark in the second half with a three-pointer that gave the blue and white a five-point lead in the Hawks 83-71 win over Marist on Monday night, surpassing Alex Blackwell (1989-92) and John Giraldo (1992-96), who were tied at 1,749 points.
“I got an open look, knocked it down, trotted back on defense a little bit and I realized, ‘Man, that’s the one,’” Robinson said. “You don’t get to think about it in the heat of the game because you want to keep playing and doing the right things but once that final sub came in for me I said, ‘Man, I’m not supposed to be here, but I am,’ and that’s cool.”
The Lake Katrine, NY native accomplished the feat about 30 minutes south of his hometown. The fact that he got the record so close to home was just coincidence, but he relishes every opportunity he gets to play in front of his family and friends back home.
“It was special because I don’t get to come home too often,” Robinson said. “When I do, it’s always a good time with the people I get to be around. I had a lot of family, friends, guidance counselors, some of my favorite teachers from middle school, elementary school, and high school here and having them in the building is a great feeling.”
Marist held the Hawks to just 27 first half points and had a seven-point lead going into halftime, but MU came storming out of the locker room on a 19-9 run leading up to Robinson’s first of three consecutive triples.
But Monmouth regrouped and outscored the Red Foxes 56-37 in the second half, shooting 48.6 percent from the floor and 55.7 percent from three. Robinson led the Hawks with 24 points on 6-13 from the field. Redshirt sophomore guard Micah Seaborn added 20 points while senior guard Je'lon Hornbeak added 11 points and eight rebounds. It was their sixth consecutive win against Marist as the team swept the season series for the third year in a row.
“Tonight was a special night for us for a lot of different reasons,” Monmouth Head Coach King Rice said. “To be able to win on Marist’s home court is the first one, and then Justin Robinson choosing Monmouth four years ago and him just keeping his head low and being the best young man and the hardest worker in our program. The impact he has made on our campus has changed everybody’s life at Monmouth.”
Robinson also got praise from the two men that he surpassed. “To come out of college as the all-time leading scorer was never something I really thought could happen, and then to get that mark and have it last 20 years was even more of a surprise,” said Giraldo, who is currently the head basketball coach at Matawan High School.
“Records are made to be broken, and if it was to be broken, there is no better way than to have it be done by somebody who is on a team that has been able to put MU hoops back on the national stage and have one of the best runs the school has ever had,” continued Giraldo. “I take pride in being part of a great basketball tradition at MU, and to see where the program is now, it makes not only me, but all of the hoop alumni proud.”
“After 25 years, I am happy that a player has reached this milestone and I wish him well. I am very happy for Justin,” said Blackwell, a basketball coach and English educator in Arica, Chile. “I am so happy, not only for the basketball program, but for the University as a whole. For me, it was a great place to be, and now it looks even better.”
Robinson also led the blue and white with 22 points in their 95-76 win over Quinnipiac, sweeping the season series against the Bobcats.
Seaborn contributed 21 points and made four three-pointers for the second time this season. It was Seaborn’s 11th game in a row with double figures and his 12th career 20-point game.
“(Coach Rice) told us that he wanted the game to be up-and-down so he told me in the beginning if I felt that I was open to get a few quick shots and get the game going,” Seaborn said. “I missed the first one but it felt good and I made the next two, so I just tried to build off of that.”
Senior center Chris Brady pulled down 11 rebounds, tying the most for a Hawk in a game this season.
Monmouth is now 18-5 overall and 10-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) on the season and have now won eight games in a row. They have a two game lead over Iona and Saint Peter’s for first place. They return to the OceanFirst Bank Center on Friday, where they will look to split the season series with Saint Peter’s, who came away with a ten-point victory at the Yanitelli Center on Monday, Jan. 2. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN3.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Athletics