Men’s Basketball Edges MAAC Opponent Marist, 69-65

bball2The Hawks have taken sole possession of third place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) improving to 11-5 in conference play, 15-12 overall, with a 69-65 win over the tenth place Marist Red Foxes on Monday night in the Multipurpose Activity Center.

Sophomore point guard Justin Robinson led MU scorers with 20 points, all coming in the second half of this MAAC contest. Junior guard Deon Jones added 18 points, while sophomore guard Colin Stewart followed up his career-high 21-point performance against Siena with nine points of his own. 

Austin Tilghman contributed with a seven points, five rebounds and seven assists, a career-high for the freshman guard. 

Senior Brice Kofane, the 6’ 8’’ transfer from Providence, continued to carry the Hawks on the glass collecting 12 rebounds, as well as six points and three blocks. Senior guard Max DiLeo tallied three points. 

The Marist Red Foxes have been battling injuries throughout the entire 2014-15 season only putting their opening day lineup on the court nine times so far. 

With their opening day lineup, the Red Foxes managed a 4-5 record against a 1-15 record without. 

When the Hawks and Red Foxes squared off in Dec., MU came away with a 57-50 victory. However, Chavaughn Lewis, a second team All-MAAC preseason selection, left the contest with a sprained ankle only 1:42 during that game. 

Currently, Lewis sits as the nation’s tenth leading scorer. He came into Monday night’s averaging 20.5 PPG. During the contest, Lewis scored a total of 15 points while teammate sophomore guard Khalid Lewis, another second team All-MAAC preseason selection, dropped 21 points.

Marist ended the first half on 10-3 run giving them a 30-24 lead at half. Going into the game, Marist was 3-1 when leading their opponent at the 20-minute mark. The Hawks trailed by as many as ten points with 17:22 remaining in the second half.  

After trailing 54-46 at the 7:24 mark in the second half, DiLeo drained a three pointer from the corner igniting a 17-4 Hawks run. 

At the conclusion of the run, the Hawks led 63-58 with just over two minutes remaining in the game. 

Head Coach King Rice said, “They (Marist) probably outplayed us for 33 minutes and then we were able to get some things going, we were able to make enough plays down the stretch to take the lead.”

Rice was more than pleased with the performance of the Cameroon native Kofane who came into the game averaging 5.7 RPG and tied a career-high with 12 rebounds which included six offensive and six defensive. 

As a team, the Hawks out-rebounded the Red Foxes 40 to 26, tying a team season-high. Defensively, the Hawks battled. “I thought our defense did a great job of continuing to fight even though Marist kept scoring,” Rice said.

Robinson entered Monday’s contest leading MU in scoring averaging 12.7 PPG. In the first half, Robinson was 0-4 from the field; however he followed up his lousy start with a 20-point second half. He finished the game 7-13 from the field and tallied a career-high five three-pointers. 

After struggling to score in the first half Robinson said, “You have to move without the ball, shots started opening up and we knocked them down.”

MU has been competing without senior guard Andrew Nicholas who has been sidelined with a concussion over the previous three games. 

Rice commented on the injury saying, “He was expected to practice tomorrow and as soon he is cleared, he’s playing.” 

This is great news for the Hawks who are currently only dressing eight scholarship players. 

When asked what the ceiling is for this Hawks team, Robison answered, “There are footprints on the moon.” 

MU returns to action on Thursday night when they travel to Jersey City to take on Saint Peter’s at 7 pm in the Yanitelli Center. 

These two teams met earlier in the season in West Long Branch where the Hawks fell in a tight game 62-61 in OT. 

PHOTO TAKEN by Taylor Jackson