Men’s Basketball Gets a Win and a Loss

On Jan. 28, the Monmouth University Men’s Basketball team (13-6, 5-3 MAAC) rallied behind George Papas’ 22 points to secure a come from behind victory over Canisius College, marking the third straight win for the Hawks at 72-67.

After exchanging buckets in the opening minutes, Monmouth pulled ahead, holding the lead for a whopping 15:24 to close out the first half. With MU ahead 16-8 following an 8-0 run by Papas and company, Ahamadou Fofana fueled Canisius from beyond the arc to rally them back to within striking distance. While MU saw their advantage shrink toward the end of the half, the Hawks remained ahead going into the break with a 41-39 lead.

Ahead early in the second, MU saw their lead slip at the hands of back-to-back threes from Canisius’ Akrum Ahemed, which gave the Golden Griffins a two point advantage in the opening minutes of the second half. A three by George Maslennikov would poise the Griffs to pull further ahead, stretching their lead to six; a lead which Canisius would then hold for over five minutes. Down by six with 5:23 to play,

MU’s Walker Miller and Shavar Reynolds got to the basket on back to back possessions to cut the deficit to two before Papas gave the Hawks the go ahead triple with just 3:23 remaining in regulation.

The seven point swing commenced Monmouth’s late 10-0 run, as the Hawks proceeded to score the next four points, closing out on each of the ensuing defensive possessions including a block by Miller on the perimeter with a mere 19 seconds left on the clock. With 2.3 seconds left, Armon Harried scored Canisius’ only two points in the final 5:23, coming from the foul line, and cutting the Monmouth lead to three before Papas closed it out with a bucket in the final 2 seconds, extending the Hawks’ win streak to three.

The winning streak came to an end when Monmouth fell to Niagara on Sunday with a score of 70-69. The Hawks had been down 14 points in each half and ultimately caused overtime which ended in Niagara’s favor. Throughout the game, guys like Papas, McClary, Walker Miller, and Myles Ruth made significant contributions.

McClary shot back-toback triples right before Ruth’s three foul shots that tied the game. Niagara’s Marcus Hammond shot a three which provided them with a lead later in the game. Further baskets were made by Papas, Miller, and Sam Chaput to tie the game at 28. Niagara had the lead at the half with a score of 30-28.

The teams went back and forth with Monmouth forcing the overtime. Papas committed a triple and two foul shots with 1:06 left in overtime. McClary and Miller got off shots towards the other end but neither fell. Niagara was able to walk out with a win.

Coming up, this week, the Hawks will face the Fairfield Stags at home on Friday at 7 pm in the OceanFirst Bank Center.