Featured (Slider) Sports

Men’s Basketball Claim Ninth Straight Home Win

The Monmouth Men’s basketball team (12-11) went against the Drexel Dragons (15-8) last Thursday, Feb. 1, at Ocean First Center. The Hawks stayed solid with a decent lead throughout the whole game. This has been the second time the Hawks have seen the Dragons this season. The difference between then and now is that Monmouth was finally able to secure that win on their home court (67 – 62).

Graduate student and guard Xander Rice was on fire tonight leading the Hawks to their second straight win. He was able to score a total of 22 points and kept a great lead for his team by scoring the first two points of the game. Jakari Spence wasn’t too far behind, securing 12 points for the Monmouth Hawks and scoring the last two points of the game, to finalize Monmouth’s win by five.

Throughout the whole game, Monmouth was able to keep a steady lead. They brought everything they had and left it out on the floor. The defense, the skill, the aggression, and the hustle were all there. The energy in the building was insane. They did lose control of the ball a couple of times, which resulted in a couple of turnovers. In the first quarter, the score stood at 33-23 with FG 45%, FT 50% and 3P% of 33.

The game came fairly close, especially in the second half. The Hawks were up until sophomore guard Justin Moore from Drexel handed the Hawks a slam dunk that set the teams three points apart. Moor and senior forward Amari Williams scored 12 points each, leading their team. Drexel got their first lead with just 7:34 left in the final quarter. The lead was held for about three minutes until Rice scored two foul shots that returned the lead to Monmouth. The Monmouth Athletics page described the final moments of the game: “Rice nailed a left-wing three to put MU in front and after a stop, got to the rim to make it five. Drexel got it to four, but Monmouth’s defense held, and the Hawks topped the first-place Dragons, 67-62.”

Rice, doing what he does best, knocked in a three with only 1:46 left bringing Monmouth back to the top that won the game for the Monmouth Hawks. They secured 11 points at the end of the half to win their ninth home game. The game leaders included Xander Rice with 22 points, Jakari Spence with 12 points, Nikita Konstantynovski with nine points, and Jaret Valencia with eight points.

Head Coach King Rice seems to be very proud of his team. The Monmouth Athletics website quoted him saying, “I definitely think this was growth, with this team there is so much opportunity to grow. We have a lot of guys in new roles. The sky is the limit for this team.”

This win has set a record for the longest home winning streak and also locks in a back-to-back win against Drexel at home. Spence earned his fifth career game in double figures. This win has also shed a little light on Monmouth in another way as they now have wins over the two top teams in the CAA this season.

The Hawks will search for another victory against William & Mary (8-15) this Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Ocean First Bank Center.