This week of basketball for the Hawks kicked off with a loss on Sunday against the best team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) the Iona Gaels, Coached by a legend Rick Pitino, with a score of 70-62.
The Hawks traveled to the Hynes Center, in New Rochelle, New York for an early 1 pm tipoff before Super Bowl Sunday. The Hawks kicked off the game with the first bucket but it was all Gaels from there on out.
The only lead for the Hawks was that first basket. The Hawks struggled to put the ball in the cup in the first half. They shot only 2-10 from three and 10-27 from the field. Unfortunately, Iona got it going early and everyone was in on the scoring party.
They shot the lights out of the ball in the first half. They were 6-10 from three and 11-25 from the field. They went into the locker room up 42-30.
In the second half, Monmouth tried to close the gap a few times but the Gaels were too much. The final score was 70-62. It was a much-needed win for the Gaels as they had lost their previous two.
The Gaels had contributions from everybody. They had four scorers in double digits. Elijah Joiner, who is one of the leading scorers in the MAAC, led the way for the Gaels with 15 points. Tyson Jolly had 13, Quinn Slazinski had 12, and Ryan Myers gave them a nice boost off the bench with 11 points.
As for the Hawks, it was just the opposite. They only had one double-digit scorer and that was Jarvis Vaughan who gave them some nice minutes on the bench.
The starters had a rough day shooting. George Papas was 1-12 from the field and finished with five points. Walker Miller shot 1-8 from the field and finished with seven points.
It was a tough day overall for the Hawks. But they had some time to regroup before their next game which was Friday at home against Rider. They got some much-needed rest and were ready.
This game, much like the Iona game for the Hawks, was rough in the first half. They shot 11-38 from the field and only 2-17 from three. As for the Broncs it wasn’t much better; they shot 13-30 from the field and only 3-10 from three.
That was enough to give Rider a two-point lead going into halftime 29-27 in a low-scoring battle in West Long Branch.
The second half was a nice turnaround for the Hawks. They shot the ball a little better and played some great team defense. It was just enough for them to pull out the much-needed home win 60-58.
For the Hawks, getting Shavar Reynolds Jr. back was much needed as he was their leading scorer with 17 points. Walker Miller and George Papas also scored double digits. Walker had 15 and George had 11. Myles Foster was excellent for the Hawks off the bench as he scored 10 and grabbed 8 boards.
As for the Broncs, Mervin James led the way with 17 points and Dwight Murray Jr. had 11. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough as the Hawks prevailed this time against their in-state rivals.
Looking forward, the Hawks have yet another home game Tuesday night against the Siena Saints. This is a massive game as Siena currently sits third in the MAAC and Monmouth is fourth. Tuesday night’s game is a 7 pm tipoff at the Ocean First Bank Center in West Long Branch, NJ.