Sports

Men’s Basketball Falls Late to Iona 76-73

M Basketball 1.24.18Men’s Basketball lost to the Iona Gaels 76-73 in a game that featured nine lead changes in on Friday night.

“I want to give Iona a lot of credit tonight,” Head Coach King Rice said. “[Iona Head Coach] Tim [Cluess] has challenged me and all the coaches in the league to continue to improve at our craft.”

With 1:30 left in the second half, freshman forward Melik Martin completed a three-point play to give the Hawks the 73-70 lead. The Gaels would then go on a 6-0 run to end the game which included a two-point jump shot, a layup, and two free throws. Senior guard Austin Tilghman missed a game-tying three-pointer with three seconds left that ended the game at 76-73 Iona.

In the first half, Iona’s lead was as high as 13 with 53 seconds left to go. The Hawks would trim that lead to eight after five straight points from freshman guard Ray Salnave. Salnave led the team with 16 points, ending two points shy of his career-high. He was 5-6 from the field.

“Ray came up huge, and there was a lot of guys that came through in this game,” Tilghman said.

For the second half, the blue and white started the half on a 13-5 run to tie the game at 47 all with 13:45 left. Junior guard Micah Seaborn gave Monmouth the lead after a three-pointer to make it 54-52. The last 11:41 of the game featured six lead-changes before Iona was able to secure the win late.

“One thing we’ve struggled with is finishing games”, Tilghman said. “Once we’re able to finish games we’ll be fine.”

“For my kids tonight, I think tonight was our closest to playing 40 minutes,” Rice said. “I’m really proud of my kids tonight, I feel like we fought Iona to the end and they made a few extra plays down the stretch.”

For the game, freshman guard Deion Hammond finished with 13 points and a steal, Martin added 12 points, all coming in the second half. Seaborn had nine points and five rebounds in his first game back from injury. The Hawks outshot Iona, shooting 47 percent to the Gael’s 46 percent.

The Hawks (5-13, 1-5 MAAC) are experiencing their worst start in conference-play since joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in 2013-14. The blue and white will be off six days before playing three games in five days. They will host Siena, who defeated Monmouth in last year’s MAAC semifinals game on Thursday, Jan. 25 at the OceanFirst Bank Center. Then they travel to the Nassau Coliseum to face Marist on Saturday, Jan. 27. The Hawks will finish the stretch with an hourglass rivalry game against Rider at the Alumni Gymnasium in Lawrenceville, NJ on Jan. 29. All games will be broadcasted by WMCX 88.9 FM.