Men’s Basketball won both of their games at home this past week, defeating Radford 80-63 on Tuesday and beating Norfolk State by a slim margin of 75-71 on Wednesday.
Monmouth got off to a fast start against Radford as they started off the contest on a 13-4 run. Radford would then answer back with a 10-0 run putting them in front. With the game tied at 24, the Hawks were able to score six unanswered points. By the end of the half, Monmouth held a 39-35 lead thanks to a pair of free throws by senior forward Mustapha Traore.
Radford started the second half by scoring the first six points which ultimately gave them a one-point lead. Junior guard Deion Hammond went on a small run that pushed the Hawks lead to seven. The Hawks then began to pull away as they were up by 14 with less than five minutes in the game. Monmouth only allowed six points in the final 3:27 against Radford in route to their win.
“Tonight, our first home game, so many people showed up and our kids were just not going to be denied,” said Head Coach King Rice. “I’m glad that our older guys really carried the load for us the group is fun, it’s a long year but we will fight and battle for the Monmouth Hawks and the fans.”
Monmouth dominated just about the entire game as they were only trailing for a total of 1:15. Leading the Hawks were Hammond who finished with a team high 20 points in 32 minutes of action. Traore also had an impressive performance as he logged a double-double with 16 points and a career high 14 rebounds.
“We’ve been on the road a lot so coming back home felt really amazing. I was excited and I was able to show it tonight,” said Traore. With Tuesday’s performance, Traore now has two double-doubles in his career, his first since 2017 against Yale.
The blue and white shot the ball very well against Radford. The Hawks shot 49 percent from the field as well as 42 percent from three as a team. They also out rebounded Radford 42-36.
In their game against Norfolk State, the Hawks had the advantage in the first half. By the end of the period, the Hawks took a five-point lead to the locker room and only trailed for a total of 13 seconds.
With 9:42 left to go in the game, the blue and white had a 10-point cushion. However, a 13-4 run by Norfolk State made it a one-point game with only 4:59 to go. The Hawks then responded with the next seven points including five of them from Hammond who finished the night with a team high 24. The Spartans did not go down without a fight, they were only down by two with eight seconds remaining. Hammond however drilled a pair of free throws to seal the Hawks second win in a row. With Wednesday’s performance, Hammond has now scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games.
“We got to finish two at home and hopefully that sends our kids home with a Happy Thanksgiving,” said Rice.
“We really played a good basketball game today, and after the first half, that might have been our best half of basketball,” continued Rice.
Junior guard Ray Salnave recorded five assists for the third time this season and Traore recorded double-digit points for the fourth time this year. After nine games this month, the Hawks final record for November is 4-5.
The Hawks have a long break as their next game is not until Dec. 10, when they take on the Ivy League’s Princeton on their home court at 8:00 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics