Men’s Basketball fell to #10/#9 ranked Kentucky 90-44 as the hosts did not trail once in the game and led by as many as 47 on Wednesday night at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. The Hawks then lost to Bucknell, 65-43, on Saturday. The loss continues their winless season, falling to 0-9.
“First I want to thank (Kentucky Head) Coach (John) Calipari. I’ve known him a long time, and it’s really nice that he played us last year and also played us this year,” said Head Coach King Rice. “Even on nights when they beat you the way they beat us tonight, I think it’s great for our program, and it’s great for our kids to have the opportunity to come to Rupp Arena and play one of the iconic basketball programs in one of the most big-time arenas in the country.”
In the first half, the Hawks were able to tie it twice after Kentucky took the lead, at 2-2 and 6-6. UK then went on an 11-0 run to take a 17-6 lead in the span of 1:54. After UK took a 12-point lead, Monmouth brought it to within four after a sophomore forward Melik Martin basket to make it 22-18 midway through the half. Kentucky finished the half on a 22-6 run to make the halftime score 44-22 Kentucky. The Hawks shot 33 percent in the half, 0-5 from deep. UK shot 50 percent and was 6-15 from behind the arc. UK lead the boards with a 20-12 advantage. Sophomore guard Ray Salnave led the Hawks with eight points.
Kentucky stayed in full control for the second half, outscoring Monmouth 46-22. UK lead by as many as 47 points twice late in the half. The Hawks hit their first three of the game with 11:23 left from Martin. Their second and final made three was a late basket from freshman guard Dave Calloway Jr.
“King (Rice) and I go way back to where when he was at North Carolina as a player and I followed his career and I’ve watched him and been around him and I just have so much respect for him, not only as a coach but as a person and what he stands for,” said Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari. “We had an opportunity to play in New York and I mean it was like a game that he appreciated the fact that we would play them because he can’t get games, it’s hard for them – no one wants to play them.”
For the game, Salnave led the way with 14 points. Senior forward Diago Quinn was second with eight points, six from the foul line. The Hawks shot 27 percent from the field and were 2-16 from deep. Eight Hawks scored and 13 players saw minutes in the contest.
Monmouth fell to Bucknell 65-43 on Saturday, dropping to 0-9 on the season. Three Hawks tied for the team lead with eight points each (sophomore guard Deion Hammond, junior forward Mustapha Traore, and Salnave). Traore also added a season-high ten rebounds.
“I thought that our kids really bought in early,” Rice said. “The problem that we’re having is, as soon as we don’t make a shot, kids are hanging their heads and if you’re playing in a college basketball game and you hang your head, bad things are getting ready to happen. You could feel it in the second half when they started making a run and you could feel the energy on our bench starting to go away.”
Next up, Monmouth (0-9) continues to look for their first win of the season as they take on Hofstra on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY of Mark Mahan