Diminutive point guard Justin Robinson did all he could with 28 points but his Hawks came up short against Scoochie Smith (19 points) and the Dayton Flyers.
Having just dispatched the no. 17 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Thursday, and UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in the season opener, there was reason to believe that the little team from the MAAC could keep making noise in the Advocare Invitational. They came up just short. Let's hope this wasn't the last time we get the Monmouth bench cam.
Monmouth bench cam! https://t.co/b6ETum4Iu5— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) November 28, 2015
While Dayton held the lead from the first basket of the game the Flyers weren't able to find much comfort in the first half. Whenever the lead expanded past two possessions the Hawks had an answer to keep things within reach. They prevented Dayton from extending their first half lead to double-digits.
The second half was a different story, the first ten minutes of the second half, at least.
It took until the 13:27 mark of the second half for the Hawks to score. Dayton went from up three points after the Hawks' last make of the first half to up by 10 when Justin Robinson knocked down the first basket of the second half. With Robinson and Micah Seaborn on the floor the Hawks weren't going to fade away. Those two knocked down back-to-back-to-back threes to jump start the stagnant Monmouth offense.
The Flyers just kept going, though, on the other end. With ten minutes to play, despite the barrage of threes, Dayton had pushed the lead to 16.
Robinson scored 11 straight points for the Hawks, during that run the Flyers managed just three points and the lead was cut to eight. Then to six. Then it was a one possession game. Even with Robinson on the bench getting a breather the Monmouth comeback continued and the lead was cut to just one point on multiple occasions.
Scoochie Smith took over down the stretch, while Robinson failed to score after his 11 point explosion. With the Hawks within a point of the Flyers Smith hit a reverse lay-up as the shot clock expired with 2:16 to play. On the next possession he drilled a three to once again expand a one point lead. On the other end of the floor he pulled down a rebound and the Flyers went back up by six.
The final possession saw the Hawks, down just three, with a chance to send the game into overtime. But, Seaborn's three with a second left wouldn't go.
Monmouth's magic may not yet be over, as the Hawks get a shot at redemption in the Advocare Invitational third place game. They'll face USC, a team they lost to on Nov. 16 in Los Angeles.
Dayton will face former conference foe Xavier in the championship game.