M Basketball 12.09.17
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Men’s Basketball Falls to 7/8 Ranked Kentucky || Sports

Men’s basketball was defeated by 7/8 ranked Kentucky Wildcats 93-76 in the Citi Hoops Classic at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon.

On a busy day in New York City that had people dressed as Santa, a rivalry game between the Rangers and Devils at The World’s Most Famous Arena, a Yankees’ trade that included one of the best power hitters in Major League Baseball, and on top of all that, the first snow fall of the year. The busy day started off with a Monmouth-Kentucky game.

“I am proud because my kids kept fighting and when it’s Kentucky and they come with All-American players when they were in high school you could get discouraged but our kids did not get discouraged,” Head Coach King Rice said.

Kentucky, a team that includes at least three players to be projected drafted in the upcoming National Basketball Association (NBA), came into the game with only one loss, which was to the current second ranked team in the country, Kansas, who could be the top ranked team in the country after Duke lost to Boston College.

Monmouth lead for a total of 18 second in the game after junior guard Micah Seaborn scored a three-pointer early in the first half to make it 5-4 MU. Kentucky would make a jumper on the next possession to make it 6-5 Wildcats and they lead for the rest of the game. Kentucky started the game going man-to-man before changing to zone defense which helped them control Monmouth’s offense.

“I don’t feel like were composed enough against [zone defense].” Seaborn said. “We just passed the ball back and forth for a while instead of trying to make a play. It shook us a little.”

The blue and white would keep it close up to the first media timeout with the lead being 9-7 Kentucky. The Wildcats would then go on a 14-3 run to make it 23-10 Kentucky at the under-12 media timeout. After a MU timeout, Seaborn would score eight points including two threes in the span of 1:07 before Kentucky called a timeout.

Kentucky would go on a run to finish the first half with the score being 54-31 Wildcats.

Kentucky’s lead was as high as 29 after they made a pair of free throws to make it 70-41 in the second half. Monmouth would close the gap to 17 after senior guard Dan Pillari hit a three-pointer with only three seconds left, making it the eventual score of 93-76 Wildcats.

“In the first half, there were spells where they struggled, then you see them at the how they played,” Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari said. “[Monmouth] is going to be good in their league.”

For the game, freshman guard Deion Hammond lead the Hawks with 19 points with four three-pointers. Seaborn was close behind with 18 points, with four of his five field goals being three-pointers. He also added five rebounds. Freshman guard Ray Salnave had seven points, seven assists, and had three steals. Pillari’s three-pointer was his first points on the season for the senior guard.

Monmouth (3-7) will look for revenge against Kentucky next year, as the Hawks will go to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky in the 2018-19 season. Monmouth will look to rebound against instate opponent Princeton on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m.