- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 15 February 2017
- Written by JOHN SORCE | SPORTS EDITOR
The men’s basketball team extended a program record by winning their 12th straight game in their 102-82 win over Siena at Times Union Center in Albany, NY on Monday night.
It was the Justin Robinson show once again as the senior point guard scored a career-high 40 points while adding six rebounds and three assists. Robinson became the seventh Hawk to score 40 points in a game, and the first to do so since Rahsaan Johnson scored 40 on Dec. 8, 2001 at Princeton.
“Justin is a dynamic player and I’m glad he’s on our team,” Monmouth Head Coach King Rice said.
“(Senior center) Chris Brady told me how many points I had after I hit the four-point play,” Robinson said. “Coach Rice pulled me aside when I had 35 points and told me I had one more minute to play until I was done, so I just had fun with that minute.”
Monmouth had a one-point lead at halftime but outscored the Saints 55-36 in the second half. With the game tied at 59, the Hawks went on a 13-1 run to take a 72-60 lead at 10:51, and never looked back.
Robinson netted a layup and followed up with a three-pointer to give him 35 points on the night after the under-four media timeout. Another triple and a transition layup got him to 40 points on the night.
His 40 points are the third most in a single-game in school history while his eight three-pointers are one shy of the program single-game record, set by former Head Coach Dave Calloway. Robinson also became the second Hawk to make eight three-pointers this season after redshirt sophomore guard Micah Seaborn did so against South Carolina State on Nov. 26. Their 38 field goals is a season-high for Monmouth, who also shot a season-high 57.6 percent from the floor.
Three other Hawks scored in double-figures – senior guard Je’lon Hornbeak scored 18 points, eclipsing double-digit points for the fifth straight game while junior guard Austin Tilghman added 11 and senior guard Josh James had 10.
The Hawks also picked up their first ever win at Draddy Gymnasium on Friday, Feb. 10 when they defeated Manhattan by a score of 62-58.
“(Manhattan Head Coach) Steve (Masiello) is as good of a tactician as there is in the game,” Rice said. “If you play against his teams, he is going to find some weaknesses and he is going to take advantage of that. Their goal tonight was to go after Justin and I thought they were successful at that, but we held on just long enough for Micah to hit that shot at the end to win the game. That was just a hard fought college basketball game.”
The Hawks were trailing late but closed out the Jaspers on an 11-1 run over the last 3:34 highlighted by a three-pointer by Seaborn that put the blue and white on top for good.
Monmouth was led by senior guard Je’lon Hornbeak, who scored 15 points while Seaborn finished with 10. Brady finished one rebound shy of back-to-back double doubles with 10 points and nine rebounds.
“When I first drove in I saw J-Rob [Robinson] open but I didn’t get a good enough pass to him,” Seaborn said. “It was a bounce pass, so he drove in. I ran out and I thought if he gets it to me, he gets it to me. I spotted up, and it was a pretty easy shot.”
“Micah’s a big-time player,” Rice said. “His confidence is through the roof and he thinks he can score on anybody and he can really guard too. Micah is a complete basketball player that we are very lucky to have in our program.”
The victory was also the 100th in the head-coaching career of Rice, who deflected the milestone to his seniors.
“When I walked into the locker room, I told these kids I have a job because of them. I started out with 60 losses and you don’t get to 100 wins when you start out with 60 losses unless you have a great boss,” Rice said. “Since my 60 losses, (Vice President/Director of Athletics Dr. Marilyn McNeil) has given me two re-ups. I told my seniors that if they did not come to Monmouth when they did, I probably don’t make it to the first bump-up because I lost 60 times. I’m going to do this a long time so this is their 100th win. I feel great for them and thankful to Dr. McNeil because she saw when I got these kids that good things were about to happen.”
Monmouth is now 22-5 overall and 14-2 in the MAAC and they return to OceanFirst Bank Center for their second-to-last home game of the season. They will take on Niagara on Thursday at 8 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Athletics