Monmouth University (1-8, 0-0 CAA) took on former MAAC opponent Manhattan College (3-4, 1-0 MAAC) on Sunday, Dec. 4 to earn a long-awaited win for the young Hawks team, their first of the season after opening on an eight game losing streak.
Although the Jaspers were the first to make it on the scoreboard with a two-point field goal less than two minutes into the game, Monmouth was quick to respond as freshman guard Jack Collins hit a three and converted a three-point play. The Hawks continued to dominate from there. Myles Foster finished twice at the rim to give Monmouth a 10 point advantage with 12 minutes left in the half. Myles Ruth and Jayden Doyle each posted multiple baskets to add to Monmouth’s lead. A layup from Tahron Allen brought the score to 15-29 with just six minutes left in the period, but the Hawks played hard up until the buzzer. Ruth ended the half on a high note for Monmouth, drilling a three-pointer with mere seconds left to make the score 29-44 going into the half.
Manhattan slowly chipped away at Monmouth’s hefty lead throughout the second period. After trading baskets for the first few minutes of play, Jack Holmstrom sank a three-pointer to make the score 38-55 with 15:36 left. The Hawks went into a small scoring drought in the middle of the second half. The Jaspers took advantage of this lull, creeping their way back into the game as they cut the Monmouth lead to 7. It seemed like a downhill spiral for the Hawks from there as the home team went on an 11-3 run, coming within three points of what had once been a seemingly untouchable Monmouth team.
At 69-72 with just a minute left to play, Manhattan shut down Ruth’s layup attempt but proceeded to foul the junior guard who converted a pair. Jakari Spence drew a foul with 11 seconds left, sinking two more free throws for the Hawks to clinch Monmouth’s first win of the season and ninth straight victory over Manhattan.
Ruth set a new career high with 21 points on the day, topping his previous 16-point record against Rider last week and matching Foster for the most points scored in a game this season. Allen and Collins both posted 12 points each for the Hawks, marking the third time Allen has scored in doubles over the course of four games. He has tallied 31 second-half points in the last four games, the most on the team. Doyle also had a strong game, posting a career-best seven rebounds for the Hawks.
The win was a collective effort from the young Monmouth team. Every Hawk who entered the game shot and made a field goal, contributing to the team’s season-high 51 percent from the floor.
“We stuck together, kept winning four-minute segments, and trusted in each other to get the ball moving and get to work on defense. My teammates trust me to get me into my spots, everyone working together helps everything flow properly,” said Allen.
“I’m excited for my kids and I’m excited for our fans. We needed this badly. We’re happy to get this one,” said Head Coach King Rice on the 183rd win of his career, the team’s first win over a MAAC opponent since exiting the conference and first win of the season to snap an 0-8 losing streak.
Looking ahead, the Hawks are set to face off against Princeton on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Jadwin Stadium.