Monmouth Men’s Basketball (11-10) took on the Hofstra Pride (11-10) this past Saturday,
Jan. 27, at OceanFirst Bank Center. The Hawks went down early, but had an offensive spark in the second half, leading to a Monmouth victory by the score of 81-78. Notably, head coach King Rice earned his 200th win after this game.
Graduate student guard Xander Rice was a major factor in the Hawk’s in-conference victory as he was able to rack up 31 points, going 8/16 on FG’s and getting 12 points off just free throws. Redshirt freshman Jaret Valencia also had a solid day on the court, putting up a solid 15 points.
In the beginning of the game, Monmouth had a slow start, going down by the score of 11-5 with 18 minutes to go in the first half of play. Valencia eventually gave the Hawks the lead with a dunk, putting the score at 17-16 with 14:13 left in the first half.
A few minutes later, graduate student guard Tyler Thomas sank a three pointer to give Hofstra a 21-17 lead with 12:28 left in the first half of play. Junior guard Darlinstone Dubar made a three point shot with 6:13 left in the first half, giving The Pride a 34-24 lead early in the game.
With 4:22 left in the first half, freshman guard Abdi Bashir Jr. cut Hoftra’s lead to only four points after the sharp shooter made a three point shot, making the score 36-32. In the last few minutes of the first half Hoftra’s offense stayed hot, resulting in Monmouth trailing at halftime by the score of 50-38.
The Hawks came out with a vengeance in the second half as Rice and Valencia hit back-to-back three pointers with 18:23 left in the game, making the score 50-44.
Freshman forward Cornelius Robinson Jr. cut Hoftra’s lead to 1 point after making a layup with 12:07 left in the game, putting the score at 61-60.
Monmouth finally took the lead with 6:24 left in the game thanks to a successful jumper from graduate student forward Nikita Konstantynovskyi, which put the Hawks up 67-66.
After this score, Monmouth did not turn back and eventually went up by the score of 77-70 with 1:21 left in the game thanks to Valencia earning back to back trips to the free throw line, in which he went 4-4.
Hoftstra had no quit as Thomas sank a three point shot with 43 seconds left in the game that put The Pride down 78-76. Graduate student guard Bryce Washington was then fouled with 26 seconds left in the game and made two clutch free throws, tying the game at 78-78.
With only two seconds left in the game, Rice was fouled and made all three free throws, ultimately giving the Monmouth Hawks an 81-78 win in thrilling fashion.
The Hawks will look for another home victory this Thursday, Feb. 1, as they take on Drexel (15-7) at The OceanFirst Bank Center.