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Men’s Basketball Team Struggles Continued Over Winter Break

The men’s basketball team fell to 4-17 Saturday night after falling to Robert Morris University (RMU) 81-73 in overtime. Junior guard Velton Jones carried the Colonials to their 15th win of the season.

“Velton Jones is one of the best players in this league as a junior. He’ll be one of the best guys in this league next year. I bet he was one of the best guys in this league last year. He’s a tough kid,” said Head Coach King Rice. “That young man just really, really, really had a good game.”

Jones led all scorers in the con-test with 35 points. He shot 10 of 20 from the field, making six of his 11 three-point attempts.

None of his shots were bigger than one with 2:50 remaining in regulation. Phill Wait had just made a layup to put Monmouth ahead 65-63. Jones silenced the crowd by draining a three-pointer from well beyond the arc to give RMU the lead and the momentum.

Junior guard Dion Nesmith was the leading scorer for the Hawks. He shot eight of nine from the field, six of seven from beyond the three-point line. Facing foul throughout most of the game and eventually fouling out, he scored 22 points in 24 minutes of action.

The Colonials led for most of the first half. Jones scored their first eight points, and eleven of their first 16. RMU was ahead 33-29 at the half, and Jones had accounted for 17 points. Nesmith was leading MU with 11.

The Blue and White came out firing in the second half. Jesse Steele hit back-to-back threes to give the Hawks a 35-33 lead early on. The Hawks went on a 19-1 run to start the half, leading RMU 48-34. The advantage was 15 after a Nesmith three with 12:15 remaining in the game.

From here the Colonials never gave up. Their defense stiffened and they started making their shots. With just over five minutes remaining in the game, an Anthony Myers layup tied it at 61.

The teams went back and forth and were tied at 67 with 36 seconds left. Monmouth put the ball in Steele’s hands to make something happen. His shot at the buzzer was off the mark and the game headed into overtime.

The Colonials dominated in overtime, outscoring the Hawks 14-6 and winning the game.

Steele scored 15 points to go along with six steals in the contest for MU. Wait also got into double figures, scoring 12 points in only 19 minutes of action. Andrew Nicholas and Marcus Ware led the team in rebounds, each grabbing six boards.

Myers joined Jones in double figures for RMU, scoring 16 points off the bench. Lucky Jones led the Colonials in rebounding with 14. Velton Jones added six assists to go along with his 35-point performance.

Before this game, the Hawks finally put an end to their losing streak on January 19, when they defeated Saint Francis (Pa.) 68-50.

Mike Meyers Keitt led the way for the Hawks with 17 points and seven rebounds. The Hawks led 24-23 at half time, and then had a dominant second half.

The Hawks put together a strong defensive effort and in the end, they were able to grab an 18-point victory over a fellow NEC opponent.

This week the Hawks travel to Central Connecticut State and Bryant for Northeast Conference (NEC) contests.

Monmouth struggled while students were away on break. The team went 1-8. Their lone win came against Mount St. Mary’s.

The Hawks are near the bottom of the NEC with a 2-6 record in the conference. Long Island University Brooklyn leads the conference at 7-0. Wagner and Central Connecticut State are tied for second with records of 6-1. Robert Morris is next with a 6-2 record.

Coming into the Robert Morris game, Monmouth had the worst defense in conference, allowing 79 points per game, 18.5 points more than the conference leader.

Monmouth is also eleventh in the conference in free throw percent-age, making only 63.2%. Giving up a lot of points and missing out on easy opportunities like free throws are the kind of things that hurt a team. These are two important reasons why the Blue and White haven’t had a successful year so far.

Up next for the Hawks, they will travel to Connecticut to take on Central Connecticut University on Thursday. Following that game then will play another game on the road in Rhode Island against Bryant University.