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MBB Roars to Life with Three-Game Win Streak

That’s three in a row for the Hawks. The Monmouth University men’s basketball team had an extremely successful week at home; after earning their first ever CAA win last week, the Hawks kept their win streak alive by defeating both Delaware and Drexel in the first week of February.

The Hawks faced defending CAA champions Delaware on Thursday night at the OceanFirst Bank Center. The final score of 70-62 gave Monmouth their first ever CAA home win. An especially strong and high scoring second half allowed the Hawks to walk off the court victorious, with their 45 points in this half alone being Monmouth’s most scored in a single half this season.

Monmouth started off strong after freshman guard Jack Collins netted the first three of the night. Junior guard Jack Holmstrom followed Collins’ lead to help put Monmouth up by six. Delaware’s Jameer Nelson Jr. netted a clean three with 8:53 remaining in the first half to bring Delaware back within one, but Monmouth answered quickly with a 7-0 run to keep their lead.

After Monmouth’s early lead, the Blue Hens retaliated and pulled ahead with 15:11 on the clock. Delaware kept going and extended their lead to 11 after a 9-0 run. Monmouth then responded with an 8-0 run of their own to head into halftime down four, 25-29.

Delaware came out fighting in the second half with an explosive dunk, increasing their lead to six points. Both teams traded scoring for some time, keeping the margin between the two no larger than eight points. Senior Myles Ruth and Collins carried the Hawks on their backs, combining for a total of 30 points in the half. Junior forward Klemen Vuga turned in a well-rounded performance, playing strong both defensively and offensively with four defensive rebounds, three blocks, and two steals to pair with his 10 points.

Following the Hawks’ newly minted two-game win streak, the Drexel Dragons traveled up to the Jersey Shore on Saturday, Feb. 4 to try and snap it. The Dragons, currently the five seed in the CAA standings, posted an impressive win earlier this week against CAA leader University of Charleston.

It was another very strong second half from the Hawks, including a double-digit deficit comeback, ending another thriller at the OceanFirst Bank Center with a 69-67 win for Monmouth. This victory is the third consecutive CAA win for Monmouth and their third win of the season.

Monmouth started off strong with a 4-0 lead in the first half, but Drexel reacted quickly and took the lead with 16:02 on the clock, staying ahead for the rest of the half to go into halftime with a 12-point lead at a score of 42-30. The Dragons were very effective on offense, while Monmouth showed signs of sloppiness and failed to execute on multiple plays.

After the break, Monmouth came out strong with an early bucket from Myles Foster. Drexel felt the heat, but still maintained a comfortable lead over the Hawks for the time being. At a score of 45-34, Monmouth found their groove with an 11-point run, tying the game at 45 with 15:08 to play.

They didn’t stop there, wresting control of the lead for the second time this game after Tahron Allen scored a jumper and knocked down his free throw after being fouled on the shot attempt.

The rest of the second half remained tight between the two teams, who stayed within three points of each other. With 4:59 left on the clock, the Dragons stepped on the gas and went on a 7-0 run, giving them a five point lead. Monmouth fought back to tie the game once again with only 1:24 left. The remainder of the game went back-and-forth pushing the tempo, but Monmouth reclaimed the lead for the final time with just seconds remaining, clinging on to their two point lead for the win.

An exhilarating game with no less than 10 lead changes and six ties, it was Monmouth’s closest game of the season so far, and their greatest comeback, storming back from being down 12 points. Allen led the team with 19 points, while Foster had another strong performance hitting double digits and leading the squad with seven rebounds.

The Hawks will head up to Long Island, New York for a matchup against the Stony Brook Seawolves on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Island Federal Arena. The previous contest ended in a 67-56 win for the Seawolves, so the Hawks will want to set the record straight with their newfound confidence and momentum.