Men’s Basketball had their four-game winning streak snapped, suffering back-to-back losses this week at the hands of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) opponents Rider and Marist despite consecutive double-doubles from senior center Diago Quinn.
The Hawks traveled to Alumni Gym in Lawrenceville, NJ on Friday to face one of the middling teams in the MAAC, Rider, who came into play with a 12-13 record overall and 7-6 in the conference.
Monmouth could not recover from a six-point deficit in the first half, as they fell out of first place in the MAAC, losing by a final score of 81-72. The Broncs got off to a quick 7-0 lead to start the game and never looked back, hanging on for the remainder. Four different players scoring in double-figures for the Blue and White was not enough to get them over the hump as they gave up a season-high 23 turnovers.
“Rider was too much tonight,” said Head Coach King Rice. “They had a good plan, they pressed and trapped so we couldn’t run our stuff and we didn’t handle it very well.”
Quinn was one of the top performers in the losing effort with his third career double-double, putting up 11 points and 12 rebounds. However, it was sophomore guard Ray Salnave who led the Hawks in scoring for the 12th time this season with 17 points and six rebounds. The other scorers in double figures included sophomore guard Deion Hammond with 11 points and junior guard Nick Rutherford with 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
The loss dropped Monmouth down to second place in the conference behind Canisius, as they headed into Sunday afternoon’s matchup with 11-14 Marist hoping to get back on top at home.
It was more of the same at the OceanFirst Bank Center however, as the Hawks fell by a score of 75-67 despite 16 points and ten rebounds from Quinn.
It was a game of runs for the Red Foxes who built multiple double-digit leads that were cut down by Monmouth’s three-point shooting, but never overcome.
The lead got as big as 17 before sophomore guard George Papas found the bottom of the net three times from beyond the arc for nine of his 12 points to cut it to a three-point game. This was the second time in his career that the sophomore three-point specialist scored in double figures, as he poured in a career-high four three-pointers.
Salnave also tied a personal high with seven assists in the game despite only scoring five points on two of six from the field.
Hammond’s 11 points on 4-15 shooting were enough to make it 38 out of 58 career games where the guard has put up a double-digit point total.
However, Quinn, Papas, and Hammond all scoring in double-figures wasn’t enough to overcome getting outshot as a team 51 to 36.8 percent.
“Credit to Marist,” said Rice. “John Dunne (Marist Head Coach) is a really good friend of mine, and they totally outplayed us for 40 minutes.”
The Hawks were able to commit a season-low four turnovers in the loss after giving up a season-high the game before. This was the lowest turnover number for Monmouth in a single game since Rice took over as Head Coach.
The defeat dropped Monmouth to a 10-18 overall record for the season, while falling to 9-6 in the MAAC. This two-game skid sets the stage for a crucial conference matchup at home against one of the two teams ahead of the Hawks in the standings, Canisius. Tip-off from the OceanFirst Bank Center on Friday night is slated for 7:00 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics