Following Tuesday’s heartbreaking two-point loss to Fairfield 53-55, Monmouth returned home falling short to Saint Peter’s 81-69 on Sunday afternoon at the OceanFirst Bank Center in West Long Branch.
The dismantling was Monmouth’s first home loss of the season and second of the year to Saint Peter’s who they lost to on the road 66-63 on Jan. 29.
Despite the defeat, junior guard Deion Hammond put together a performance of epic proportions scoring a career-high 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting and a career-best 6-of-9 from three-point range. The 30-point outburst was the first of its kind by any Monmouth player in almost two years since Micah Seaborn on Feb. 22, 2018 against Rider.
Monmouth was certainly in the game throughout as they even held a five-point lead in the second half and were tied with less than ten minutes to play. However, 8-0 and 6-0 runs by the Peacocks stretched out their lead enough to gain them a double-digit victory.
“All the credit to Saint Peter’s. They are a much tougher team than us right now and they’re a much more together team than us right now,” said Head Coach King Rice. “Today it really showed that they are very hungry. We’re not hungry enough right now. We just haven’t been as sharp lately.”
The game kept a very slow pace throughout due to the immense number of fouls from the very beginning as both teams combined for 61 free throws and 47 fouls.
Junior forward Melik Martin led the team in free throw attempts shooting 5-of-8 from the line. Martin also played strong on the board for the Hawks with five rebounds and contributed both a steal and a block on the defensive end.
The blue and white had their own share of fouls on the defensive side as senior forward Mustapha Traore led the team in personal fouls with four and five other Monmouth players had three.
The Hawks were also outshot significantly in Sunday’s contest with SPU shooting 44.6 percent from the field while MU was at just 36.2 percent.
The only other Monmouth player in double figures besides Hammond was junior guard Ray Salnave who contributed 13 points, adding five rebounds and three assists while turning the ball over a game-high five times. Salnave was also honored during the pregame ceremonies with a game ball presented by Coach Rice for the 1,000-point milestone he reached in last week’s game.
Monmouth will now travel for three consecutive road games in Western New York which is a road trip they take every season around this time.
“This week is going to be an extremely important week for us coming off of these losses,” said Hammond. “We have a big road trip coming up, so we are going to take these off days and get into the gym to do what we do.”
The road swing will begin on Friday night when the Hawks take on Canisius at 7:00 p.m. with the game airing on ESPN3.
PHOTO TAKEN by Karlee Sell