Men’s basketball falls to the Valparaiso Crusaders 64-53 in the second game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational as the Hawks were unable to have a lead in the game.
“Very tough night for us. You take your hats off to Valpo, I figured somebody would grab a hold of this game with two teams playing after hard fought games yesterday,” Head Coach King Rice said. “Kids come in and they’re fired up and when you don’t win that first one, this next game is so important. I think both teams started a little bit slow but they grabbed a hold of the game and once they did that, there wasn’t much we could do.”
In the first half, Valpo and Monmouth went back and forth early. After the game was tied at six all, the Crusaders went on a 7-0 run to take the 13-6 lead. They would lead as much as ten mid-way through the half before the Hawks brought it to within three twice in the second half, but Valpo went on a 9-3 run to finish the half, with the score being 29-23.
Junior forward Mustapha Traore led the way for Monmouth in the first with ten points while shooting a perfect 5-5. Sophomore guard Ray Salnave had seven points. The Hawks were unable to hit the three, shooting 1-12 from deep in the first half.
In the second, the Hawks were not able to make the deficit lower than six. Valpo went on a 10-4 run to begin the half, with the score 39-27 after a Crusaders three. The Hawks were able to bring the game to as close as seven after sophomore guard Deion Hammond hit a three pointer, making the score 51-44 with five minutes left. Valpo answered with a 10-0 run to give them their highest lead of the game of 17 points. Monmouth would bring it to within 11, with the final score of game being 64-53 Valpo.
For the game, Traore led the way with a career-high 14 points, shooting 7-7 on the game. Traore’s perfect 7-for-7 is the most makes for a Hawk without a miss since Je’lon Hornbeak was 7-for-7 in the 2016. Hammond was second in scoring, finishing with eight points, all which came in the second half.
Next up, Monmouth (0-5) take on Cal State Fullerton on the last day of the Myrtle Beach Invitation on Sunday at HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina. Winner will be in seventh place in the tournament. Tip-off will be at 12:30 p.m
PHOTO COURTESTY of Willis Glasgow