On Tuesday, Feb. 8, Monmouth University men’s basketball kicked off with a home game against the Marist Red Foxes but were defeated with a score of 83-58.
The Hawks entered the game-winning 4 out of their last 5 games. The Red Foxes were trending the other way. They had lost 5 straight and their last win was against the Hawks on Jan. 16 in Poughkeepsie, New York in blowout fashion 84-48 Marist.
The game on Tuesday night unfortunately for the Hawks was like the last time they played. The Red Foxes took the lead relatively early and didn’t look back. They went into the locker room at halftime with the score being 40-26.
The second half started out strong for the Hawks. At one point they cut the lead to just 6. Unfortunately, they lost guard Shavar Reynolds Jr. for the rest of the game with an injury. However, the Hawks cut it to just 6. The game got out of hand quickly after with Jao Ituka and Ricardo Wright causing a lead by double digits for the rest of the second half.
The game ended with the final score of 83-58 with the Red Foxes on top snapping their five-game losing streak. Ituka and Wright had monster nights which continued in the second half each finishing with over 20 points. Ituka was the leading scorer with 25 points shooting 9-14 from the field. For Wright, he dropped 20 points. He shot 6-13 from the field and 4-8 from the three-point line.
For the Hawks, they only had one player in double figures. That was Forward Walker Miller who was the go-to guy for the offense. He scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The Hawks’ lead scorer George Papas struggled on Tuesday night finishing with only 3 points. With his two points scored, he scored 1,000 career points as a Monmouth Hawk. This is an unbelievable accomplishment and deserves a big congratulations.
As for the second game of the week for the Hawks, the team traveled to NYC to face the Manhattan Jaspers looking for a bounce-back win on the road. The Hawks came out early with a vengeance after dropping the last game.
Myles Foster and Myles Ruth were cooking for the Hawks in the first half. The bench unit was stellar for Monmouth to give them a boost going into halftime as they were up by six, 35-29.
In the second half, their leading scorer George Papas took over for the Hawks. He was getting anything he wanted and getting to the foul line where he is automatic. Papas had a dominant bounce-back game. He finished with 23 points for the Hawks. On 5-11 shooting, 3-6 from the three point line, and 10-11 from the foul line. Papas was not only scoring at will on the offensive end, he was putting the clamps on too. He forced 6 steals on the defensive side of the ball.
Papas’ fantastic second-half performance propelled the Hawks to a win in NYC over the Jaspers. The final score was 75-65, a much-needed victory.
The Hawks finished the game with four double-digit scorers. With Papas having 23, Miller had yet another dominant game in the post finishing with 18. Both Myles Foster and Myles Ruth finished in double digits.
For the Jaspers, they had three double-digit scorers. Roberts had 16, Perez had 15, and Buchanan had 10. They struggled immensely from the three-point line on Friday night and turned the ball over way too much.
A thrilling win for the Hawks on Friday night put them at 16-8 on the season and 8-5 in the MAAC. Monmouth will have more games to improve their record over the course of a few games and Hawks fans will be sitting on the edge of their seats watching.