The Monmouth Hawks have put together a pretty impressive resume this season, picking up wins on the road against the likes of UCLA, and Georgetown, as well as neutral site victories over USC, and Notre Dame; however, there is still one place that the Hawks have never won a single game -- Draddy Gymnasium. The notorious home court of the Manhattan Jaspers, which sits atop a mountain on the school's 22-acre campus in Riverdale New York, has not been kind to the Hawks who are now 0-5 lifetime when playing there.
The newly painted bright green home court of the Jaspers got the best of King Rice's Hawks again on Thursday night as the Manhattan Defense was able to hold Monmouth to 71 points on route to a 78-71 victory. The Jaspers' win snaps the Hawks current five game win streak and drops them out of first place in the MAAC.
Monmouth opened the game on a 14-2 run in what looked to be another overpowering offensive performance from the Hawks. The Jaspers would slowly get back into the game thanks to a strong performance from RaShawn Stores who scored the first 8 Jasper points. Later in the half, a Thomas Capuano three-pointer would cap a 10-0 Manhattan run to give them their first lead of the game at 20-19 with just under 9 minutes remaining. Jasper Sophomore Calvin Crawford had a career high 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting including a three-pointer to end the first half and send the Jaspers into the locker room with a 36-30 lead.
Manhattan's stifling defense would pick up in the second half holding the Hawks to under 45% from the field and forcing 17 turn overs on the evening. A Zane Waterman three-pointer would extend the Jasper lead to nine points out of the break. The Jaspers would maintain the nine point lead all the way until the under 12 minute media timeout with the score 52-43.
After battling back, two Justin Robinson free throws would pull the Hawks ahead for the first time in the second half by the score of 64-63 with just over five minutes to go. Over the next three minutes there were three lead changes including a Chris Brady bucket and a foul, which put the Hawks up 71-69 with 1:55 remaining.
After the made basket the Monmouth Bench Mob performed their new "Bench Press Routine" which got Brady to flex his biceps in the face of a Manhattan player. The gesture drew some pushing and shoving that lead to a double-technical foul on Brady and Waterman (which was Zane's fifth and final personal foul) as well as an ejection of Jasper walk-on Matt Maloney who left the bench in the altercation.
Brady would miss the free-throw after the media time out and the Bench Mob would have no more to cheer about in this one, as Manhattan would completely shut down Monmouth over the final 1:55. Three-pointers by Shane Richards and Capuano would seal it for the Jaspers down the stretch and ultimately give them a 78-71 victory over the MAAC front runners.
Rich Williams was big for the Jasper's off the bench notching 15 points and seven boards. Stores added 14 points to go along with six rebounds, and freshman Capuano also scored in double figures with 11. Brady had a team high 15 points for Monmouth. Robinson (11 points, 7 assists) and Deon Jones (14 points, 8 rebounds) also scored in double figures for the Hawks.
The Jaspers who have won 7 of their last 10 games move back above .500 in the MAAC with 5-4 league record (8-10 overall). The Hawks drop to 14-5 on the season and fall to 2nd in the MAAC with a 6-2 league record. Monmouth will be back in action on Sunday when they host the Marist Red Foxes in West Long Branch at 2:00pm on ESPN3. The Jaspers will also be in New Jersey on Sunday when they take on the St. Peter's Peacocks in Jersey City for a 3:00pm tip-off on ESPN3.