Monmouth basketball falls to Colgate; 5 takeaways from 85-66 loss, as Hawks drop to 0-5 – Asbury Park Press
Once again there were a few glimpses of the potential a young Monmouth team possesses. And once again the promise of the future wasn’t enough to secure the Hawks’ first victory.
This time it was Colgate, with a senior-leaden roster looking to head back to the NCAA Tournament for a third straight year, taking advantage of the Hawks’ inexperience, pulling away for an 85-66 victory at the Cotterell Court in Hamilton, New York.
It was the latest stop during an early-season gauntlet that’s seen Monmouth open with three straight losses to high-major opponents, with the last two nationally ranked, before last Thursday’s close loss to a Norfolk State team that’s been part of March Madness the past two seasons.
“I thought we were good for about 22-23 minutes. and you can see from there we have some work to do,” Monmouth coach King Rice said. “This is another really good Colgate team but I thought tonight was definitely our best game we’ve played. Unfortunately, there was a five-minute stretch in the second half where it went from nine to 19 (point lead) and that was the game. Our youngness pops up every once in a while. but tonight was shorter stretches of us being young because we played our best game. We have to keep being tighter as a unit and we will get there.”
Monmouth was unable to defend the perimeter, as Colgate poured in 14 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, with Chandler Baker hitting four as part of a team-high 17-point effort, while Ryan Moffatt also hit four, finishing with 16 points. Preseason Patriot League Player of the Year Tucker Richardson added 15 points.
Leading the way for Monmouth was junior forward Myles Foster, who finished with 12 points, while junior point guard Myles Ruth and sophomore guard Jayden Doyle were also in double-figures, finishing with 10 points apiece.
Monmouth (0-5, 0-0 CAA) returns to OceanFirst Bank Center Friday for a post-Thanksgiving showdown with Cornell, with tipoff set for 2 p.m. The Hawks lost 12 straight to open the 2018-19 season, but the program record for consecutive losses to start the season is 19 in 1998-99.
The Hawks were within striking distance in the second half, getting to within 49-41 on a jumper by freshman guard Andrew Ball. But that was as close as they would come. After Ruth scored to cut Colgate’s lead to 57-47 with nine minutes to play, the Raiders began to pull away.
Here are five takeaways from Monmouth’s latest setback:
The defense on outside shooters has simply not been good enough, with players unable to get back out and contest shots after helping inside. The result was similar to their first four games, with the Hawks getting torched from long range.
Monmouth came in ranked 343 out 352 Division I teams in 3-point defense, and that won’t change much after Colgate connected on 14-of-32, or 43.8 percent.
Having settled into a starting lineup that includes a pair of freshmen in guard Jack Collins and center Amaan Sandhu, it was the 7-1 Sanhu who got off to a hot start, hitting a 3-pointer and a 15-footer for the Hawks’ first five points. Jack Holmstrom followed up a short jumper with an offensive rebound and feed to Klem Vuga inside for a score. Holmstrom added a 3-pointer that pulled the Hawks within 24-21, but Colgate continued to connect from beyond the arc.
Richardson and Moffatt then took turns knocking down three points, hitting two wide open looks apiece as Colgate extended their lead to 39-27 with 2:22 left in the first half thanks to a 9-0 run. By halftime, Colgate had a 41-29 lead on the strength of eight 3-pointers.
“Last game we had a few guys with career nights, tonight it was Jayden’s career-high,” Rice said. “I think Jack Collins is becoming a stud because of how competitive and how tough he is, Amaan started the game tremendous. We’re young so it’s hard to keep it going for the whole game but we knew that going in and I’m keeping my head all the way up because I see so many positives with this group.”
Monmouth continues to be challenged offensively, with 66 points the highest output of the season, so they have to take care of the ball. This time it was Colgate forcing 17 turnovers that resulted in 19 points for the Raiders.
In all, Monmouth has now turned the ball over 100 times in five games. It will be tough for this team to win being that careless with the ball.
Monmouth lost the battle on the glass, getting outrebounded 36-33. But it was the 17 offensive rebounds Colgate grabbed that really hurt, resulting in 16 second chance points, including several triples with the defense out of position.
Between Foster, Sanhu and Vuga, Monmouth’s three big guys inside, they had just 13 rebounds against a very tough Colgate front line. They combined for 24 rebounds against Norfolk State, which is closer to the number that trio needs to produce every night.
Monmouth has to play better. But it has a realistic chance of getting its first win when the Hawks return to face Cornell. And a victory would go a long way towards relieving the pressure on this group, which was put in a difficult position by the most challenging schedule imaginable.
It’s the start of a stretch that includes games against Lehigh, Rider, Manhattan and Princeton. Monmouth should be competitive in all of them.
Monmouth’s had its share of impactful recruiting classes. Whether it was Corey Albany, Quincy Lee and Mustafa Barksdale in 1993, Blake Hamilton and Dwayne Byfield in 2000, or Justin Robinson, Josh James, Zac Tillman and Chris Brady in 2013, they all left a lasting impact on the program by the time they graduated.
Now that we’ve gotten a small sampling of the 2022 recruiting class, albeit four games in what ranks as the 11th toughest schedule in the country, it makes you wonder how good the group can be a few years from now.
The latest test comes Monday night (7 p.m./ESPN+; MonmouthHawks.com) when Monmouth (0-4, 0-0 CAA) travels to Hamilton, New York to face an experienced Colgate (3-2, 0-0 Patriot) team that’s won 23 or more games in each of the last three full seasons, while going 14-2 in the pandemic shortened 2020-21 season.
In Saturday’s loss to Norfolk State in the home opener, it was 6-5 guard Jack Collins hitting for a team-high 14 points, the second straight game in double figures for the Manasquan native.
Andrew Ball, a 6-6 guard from Marlton, had a team-high 13 points against Illinois, and 7-1 center Amaan Sandhu made the first start of his career against Norfolk State, after getting five points and four rebounds against Seton Hall in the opener.
And while 6-9 forward Jaret Valencia will redshirt this season, he’s a 3-star recruit who had high-major offers, with athleticism that could be difference-making at the mid-major level.
Collins is the fourth player in Monmouth coach King Rice’s 12 seasons to start his first game as a true freshman, along with Robinson and Tillman, and current junior point guard Myles Ruth. After a season at the Phelps School in Malvern, Pennsylvania, the former Manasquan High School standout is averaging 8.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.
(Collins) is a big-time kid. He is tougher than everyone,” Rice said. “It’s amazing how recruiting works. Not a lot of people recruited him. He was about to go to a school and ended up going to prep school. We ended up seeing him the last day of the summer, and I had seen him before – I watching him in our building. But seeing him last day of the summer and I’m like ‘this kid might be better than all the kids we were looking at.’ The I heard he was going to prep school and then I said ‘we’ll definitely offer you a scholarship for next year.
“He’s a local kid and they wanted this and when you get kids who want you they usually have a lot of success.”
Only time will tell if the class can ultimately help the Hawks return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. For now, here are five keys for the Hawks against a Colgate team looking to play in March Madness for the fourth time in five seasons, and already has a signature win this season in an 80-63 victory at Syracuse, before losing to Duquesne, 85-80, last time out:
As if three straight games against high-major opponents to open the season wasn’t enough, Monmouth comes face-to-face with one of the best mid-major players in the country for the second straight game. Norfolk State guard Joe Bryant Jr. got 23 points in a 64-59 win Thursday. Now comes Colgate’s fifth-year guard Tucker Richardson, the Patriot League’s Preseason Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
Averaging 19.2 points and 4.2 rebounds, the 6-5 Richardson, with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists for his career, is going to make plays. But keep him around his averages.
The numbers paint a grim picture. Monmouth ranks 343rd out of 352 Division I teams in three-point field goal defense, with teams hitting at a 42.9 percent rate from beyond the arc. And Colgate’s top three scorers, including Richardson, senior guard Oliver Lynch-Daniels (14.5 ppg., 3.0 RPG), and forward Ryan Moffatt (14.2 PPG., 4.6 rpg.) have combined to hit 38 of 79 triples, or 48.1 percent.
Monmouth was a little better against Norfolk State at getting out on shooters on the perimeter. Better to give up two points inside than allow wide open shots from the outside.
Colgate’s senior-leaden roster could render Monmouth’s trapping zone defense useless. But point guard Braeden Smith is a freshman, and Monmouth was at its best against Norfolk State when it was forcing turnovers and getting out in the open court.
Monmouth is slowly working towards increasing the pace of games, a balancing act in which inexperienced mistakes are part of the calculation.
Monmouth was very good inside against Norfolk State, holding a 47-35 advantage in rebounding, and a 26-24 edge in scoring in the paint. The frontcourt of Sandhu, Klem Vuga and forward Myles Foster combined to grab 24 rebounds.
What the Hawks need is more offensive production from the group. They combined for 14 points against Norfolk State. If they had 24 points to go with 24 rebounds they win that game.
After turning it over 67 times over the first three games, Monmouth gave it away 16 times against Norfolk State. Not bad, but that number still needs to come down given the challenges the Hawks face offensively.
Colgate is averaging 83 ppg. Reducing their possessions is critical. Norfolk State came in averaging 80.5 points, and the Hawks held them to 64 points.
Check back right here Monday night for complete coverage and analysis.