Men's Basketball Falls to Powerhouses

MBB 11.20.19Men’s basketball lost to Kansas State 73-54 at the Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday night and then again on Friday to Kansas by a score of 112-57 at the Allen Fieldhouse.

The Hawks got off to a hot start against Kansas State as they did not allow a single point for the first 3:57 seconds of the game and held the Wildcats to only eight points in the first 10:55. Monmouth did not give up a lead until 13:44 into the contest when Kansas State scored to make it 14-13.

The blue and white were able to close out the half on an 11-2 run. During this run, junior guard Ray Salnave went on a stretch of scoring nine consecutive points for Monmouth. By halftime, the Hawks were leading by nine. Monmouth played excellent defense in the first half as they limited their Big-12 opponent to 0-for-10 from deep and 20 total points on 27 percent from the field.

In the second half, the Wildcats gained control of the contest. They started off the half on a 9-0 run, tying the game by 16:46. After Monmouth stopped the run for a bit, the Wildcats took over and went on a stretch where they outscored the Hawks 28-5. Monmouth was able to trim the deficit down to 13, thanks to consecutive three pointers from Salnave. However, they were unable to come any closer and fell to Kansas State 73-54.

While the Hawks lost the matchup, they did not lose in all aspects of the stat sheet. They shot a better 3-point percentage as well a better field goal percentage than Kansas State. Monmouth shot 33 percent from deep compared to the Wildcats’ 21 percent, while Monmouth made 83 percent of their free throws compared to Kansas State’s 71 percent.

“We played well but I knew they were going to come,” said Head Coach King Rice. “We made some once it was almost out of reach to try to make it interesting, and then they just made the right plays down the stretch and knocked us off.”

Wednesday’s contest was no ordinary game for Rice as he reunited with his friend in Kansas State Head Coach Bruce Weber. “I’ve known Bruce Weber since I started at Illinois State,” said Rice. “I watched him before he became a head coach adjust to how you do the business. He taught me a lot about recruiting and how to do it every day.”

The Hawks then faced the fifth ranked team in the country, the Kansas Jayhawks on Friday. Kansas proved why they are ranked this high as they dominated in every aspect of the game. The Jayhawks started the game on a 21-2 run. Junior guard Deion Hammond got hot in the middle of the half as he drained three balls from deep in a span of 2:25. By the conclusion of the first half the Hawks shot 63 percent and held onto a 59-21 lead.

Kansas picked up right where they left off in the second half and shot 50 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes. Hammond scored four second half field goals and finished the game with 17 points. Salnave registered seven points and four boards in the second half as well.

In the final seconds as Kansas was dribbling out the clock, junior guard George Papas unexpectedly stole the ball from Kansas and finished the play on the other end with a dunk. Papas went viral all-over social media for this play, receiving praise from NBA players such as Eric Paschall of the Golden State Warriors and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz for his energy.

Up next for the Hawks is an away matchup against Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) member Pittsburgh on Monday at 7:00 p.m. They then head to Orlando, Florida for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and Atlantic Sun (ASUN) Challenge where they will face off against Kennesaw St on Friday at 8:30 p.m. and against Stetson on Saturday at the same time.

PHOTO TAKEN by Evert Nelson