Monmouth basketball falls to Hampton, 83-66, as Hawks drop to 1-19 – Asbury Park Press

Monmouth basketball falls to Hampton, 83-66, as Hawks drop to 1-19 – Asbury Park Press

WEST LONG BRANCH – When opportunity came knocking at OceanFirst Bank Center Saturday afternoon, Monmouth opened the door only to be greeted by a Hampton team thinking exactly the same thing.
In a clash between teams looking for their first Colonial Athletic Association win, Hampton snapped its 10-game losing streak with an 83-66 victory, while Monmouth dropped its 11th straight.
It was Hampton flashing its firepower, getting 21 points apiece from Deuce Dean and Marquis Godwin, while the Pirates were 10-of-19 on three-pointers and shot 58 percent from the floor. Meanwhile, Monmouth shot just 39 percent from the floor, and was 2-of-19 from long range.
Monmouth (1-19, 0-6 CAA) has not won since Dec. 4 at Manhattan. It was the first win for Hampton (4-16, 1-6 CAA) since Dec. 7. The Hawks have now equaled the worst start in program history, matching the 1-19 start by the 1998-99 team.
“Two teams without a win in the league and they came in and did what they had to do right from the beginning,” Monmouth coach King Rice said. “Our intensity was down. And those kids got going. We knew they had three dudes that really could score the ball and you can’t let them get started like that. They were shooting 80 percent the first 10 minutes of the game. Right there their confidence was through the roof.”
Junior forward Myles Foster just missed a double-double for Monmouth, finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds. Freshman guard Jack Collins finished with 18 points.
Monmouth had its chances in the second half, after scores inside by Foster and forward Klem Vuga capped a 10-1 run that cut Hampton’s lead to 51-44 with 11 minutes to play.
It was a six-point game when Hampton’s Quinton Livingston got a technical foul. But Foster hit just one of his two free throws, and Monmouth failed to capitalize on the ensuing possession. Hampton made them play, getting a three-point Monmouth from Amir Nesbitt. The deficit grew to 62-51 on a three-pointer by Godwin after a Collins turnover.
Hampton steadily extended its advantage after that.
Monmouth’s performance comes on the heels of its best effort of the season in a 69-55 loss Thursday to No. 18 Charleston, leading that game at halftime.
“We’re kids, man. I’m not going to get mad at them because we’re young,” Rice said. “We got punched in the face right at the beginning. You think that things have happened before that you can handle it. I thought we did a solid job. We started scoring but they scored so much we couldn’t get our footing. Kids are kids. We played our best game the other night and tonight our defense just wasn’t where it needed to be, but that was because of Hampton.”
Dean came out on fire for Hampton, with the 6-5 senior hitting three early shots for seven points as the Pirates raced out to a 14-9 lead.
When Nesbitt hit a triple to give Hampton a 31-17 lead, capping a 12-0 run, the Pirates were 5-of-8 from the perimeter, while the Hawks had missed all seven shots from beyond the arc. But after Foster sank a pair of free throws, Collins connected from deep to pull Monmouth within 31-22.
Monmouth would actually use an 8-0 run to get within 38-30 in the final minute, before some poor execution put them down double-digits at the break. Holding for the last shot, Collins took a three-pointer from the corner that missed the mark, going out of bounds with 5.7 seconds left. It was plenty of time for Hampton, as Godwin hit a wide open three-pointer at the buzzer.
Freshman guard Andrew Ball, who scored a career-high 16 points against Charleston on Thursday, spend much of the first half on the bench, as Rice tried to find a viable defense lineup. He ended up playing just seven minutes and scoring two points.
. “I’m trying to encourage guys to play but you give up 12 points in two minutes this game ain’t for you. Not today,” Rice said. “Andrew is one of our best guys but today that kid (Godwin) got going so fast on him and then it was like, ‘Yo, give me the ball.’ “
WEST LONG BRANCH – It’s now or never for Monmouth.
Hampton, one of three teams winless in Colonial Athletic Association play along with Monmouth and Elon, comes to OceanFirst Bank Center Saturday. Sitting near the bottom of the NCAA’s NET rankings, Hampton (354) and Monmouth (358) have each lost 10 in-a-row.
So there won’t be a better opportunity for Monmouth (1-18, 0-6 CAA) to get back in the win column than this one. Hampton (3-16, 0-7 CAA) last won back on Dec. 7, beating Loyola (Md.), 66-61, while Monmouth’s last win was back on Dec. 4, beating Manhattan, 76-69.
It comes less than two days after one of Monmouth’s most impressive efforts, leading No. 18 Charleston at halftime before falling, 69-55.
Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m., with the game televised on SportsNet New York and streamed on FloSports.
A loss would equal the worst start in program history, matching the 1998-99 team’s 1-19 record. That team started 0-19 before winning four straight games.
Here are five keys for Monmouth as it looks for its second win. And check back later Saturday afternoon for complete coverage:
It’s been among the biggest issues all season. Monmouth ranks 339th in turnovers per game at 16.1, and 322nd in turnover margin. For a team with little margin for error, it’s been a huge problem. And the three quick turnovers at the start of the second half against Charleston changed the game.
Monmouth held Charleston to 28 percent shooting in the first half, and 31 percent from the perimeter, building a nine-point lead at one point thanks to some great defensive intensity. The ability to stay solid for 40 minutes, especially after turnovers and missed shots, is the key to any path forward.
In combining for 23 points and 16 rebounds against Charleston, junior forwards Myles Foster, who finished with 15 points, and Klem Vuga did a nice job in the paint against a tough frontcourt. Foster has been Monmouth’s best player this season, and getting consistent performances from Vuga would help solidify the Hawks inside.
Thursday night was one of the tightest rotations of the season, with every starter playing 29 minutes or more except Foster, who logged 28 before fouling out. It worked, because it was as competitive as Monmouth’s been this season.
It was nice to see 6-9 forward Jarvis Vaughan make his first appearance of the season, after he went down with a preseason leg injury. The question now is whether he can extend his minutes – he played 11 minutes against Charleston – and provide a boost at both ends of the floor it will help push the team forward.
WEST LONG BRANCH – It had the makings of one of the biggest upsets in recent memory, as Monmouth, with just one win its first 18 games, built a nine-point first-half lead, and went into the locker room with a 31-28 advantage over 19-1 College of Charleston.
But in the end, all the Hawks had was another fleeting example of what they’re capable of.
As the final 20 minutes wore on at OceanFirst Bank Center, Charleston, ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press Top 25 and the Colonial Athletic Association leader, began to take charge, thanks in part to three quick Monmouth turnovers to start the second half, escaping with a 69-55 victory.
“I’m happy that my kids battled,” Monmouth coach King Rice said. “We’re getting better. We’ve got to keep working, keep working, and we’ll finish stronger than we started.
“We tried to crack them. We tried to do all kinds of stuff and they just kept finding way to give us problems.”
Charleston guard Reyne Smith led all scorers with 21 points, connecting on seven three-pointers, while guard Ryan Larson added 14 points and guard Dalton Bolon chipped in with 13.
Monmouth got a big game from freshman guard Andrew Ball, who led the way with 16 points. Junor forwards Myles Foster and Klemen Vuga each just missed a double-double, with Foster finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Vuga had eight points and eight rebounds.
“The first half they shot 28 percent. We can guard. We are a physical club,” Rice said. “But what happens is we’ll turn it over to you 20 times and you’ve got 18 points off it and now your kids are comfortable and we can’t guard anybody.
“When they had to see our defense just like we had to see theirs, well it was a really good college basketball game. They understand that, not turning the ball over.”
Monmouth returns to the court Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff against Hampton.
Here are some takeaways from the game:
Rice had nothing but praise for Charleston, which could be in the top-15 nationally by Monday. They came in with an NET ranking of 43.
“College of Charleston is a high-level basketball team,” he said. “The ranking and all that stuff is incredible. We all know how hard it is to get ranked. But then to be a mid-major club and do what they have done, and they keep moving up in the poll. To be a mid-major and be in the top 20, that means everybody has bought in.”
Ball, a Medford native who starred at Shawnee High School, hit on 7-of-14 shots from the floor. His 16 points was a career-high, having scored 13 on two occasions.
“Super impressed with Andrew, but he puts too much pressure on himself,” Rice said. “He’s one of our best offensive guys, if not our best. He can guard. He doesn’t think that yet but he really can because he is athletic and he’s long. But he is just putting a lot of pressure on himself.”
Said Ball: “Coach Rice and I had a nice talk about that. I just tried to have fun with it tonight.”
Foster and Vuga battled inside all game, with Foster eventually fouling out and Vuga finishing with four fouls. But not before they combined for 23 points and 16 rebounds.
“Those guys, it’s like they were in competition for too long, because they play the same spots,” Rice said. “Klem is a little bigger (6-9), but their skillset is similar. It’s like they were trying to one-up each other for three years. I’m like ‘guys, your skillsets fit together. Make it work.”
Redshirt junior forward Jarvis Vaughan made his first appearance of the season, after the 6-9 forward suffered a leg injury in the preseason. The hope had been that Vaughan, who has battled injuries throughout his career, could be a leader on the court this season, while giving Monmouth an athletic presence in the paint and on the perimeter.
Vaughan ended up playing 11 minutes – the training staff limited him to five minutes a half – and his time is expected to slowly increase. He finished with two points and two rebounds.
“Jarvis practiced all week, even some last week,” Rice said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re doing right with Jarvis. It’s important he stay’s healthy.”
It’s a rarity when a mid-major program hosts a nationally-ranked team in its building. But that’s life in the Colonial Athletic Association these days.
When No. 18 Charleston, with a gaudy 18-1 record and NET rank of 43, visits OceanFirst Bank Center Thursday night (7 p.m.; FloSports), it will be the latest, most daunting challenge for Monmouth in its new league.
And given Monmouth’s struggles this season, having lost nine straight to fall to 1-17, and ranked 358 in the NET, it looms as one of the biggest college basketball mismatches in recent memory.
But it’s also the latest opportunity for Jersey Shore fans to see a top-level team in their own backyard.
Prior to this showdown, what are the best teams that have ever come to the area to face Monmouth?
Here’s our list of the 10 best:
10. Rice, Dec. 28, 1991 – Having a Southwest Conference team come to what was then called Alumni Memorial Gym was a big deal. And it was an even bigger deal when Monmouth beat them, 60-59, with the Owls eventually going 20-11.  Alex Blackwell’s three-point play with 1:01 left was the difference.
9. Seton Hall, Nov. 15, 2009 – In the second game ever played at OFBC, the Pirates, coached by Bobby Gonzalez, came in and beat the Hawks, 87-72, as Jeremy Hazell lit them up for 26 points.  The Pirates went 19-13 that season.
8. Central Connecticut, Feb. 9, 2002 – The zenith of former UConn assistant Howie Dickenman’s time at CCSU, with Ricardo Scott and Corsley Edwards helping the Blue Devils overcome a 20-point deficit to win, 63-62 at Boylan Gym. They went 27-5, including 19-1 in the NEC, and lost to Pitt in the NCAAs.
7. Rider, Dec. 15, 2007 – The Broncs, featuring future NBA player Jason Thompson, were in the midst of a 23-11 season when they beat the Hawks, 76-55. They would end up losing to a Fran McCaffrey-coached Siena team in the MAAC final, with Siena winning an NCAA Tournament game as a 13-seed.
6. Iona, Feb 19, 2016 – The largest crowd ever at OFBC showed up for the rematch after a fight erupted following Monmouth’s win at Iona. And while Monmouth went 27-7 that season, with five high major wins, the Gaels were really good, beating the Hawks 93-67, before doing it again in the MAAC final.
5. Mississippi, March 14, 2017 – Ole Miss came in for an NIT opening round game, with the Hawks still reeling from a semifinal loss to Siena in the MAAC Tournament, and promptly ended the Justin Robinson era with a 91-83 win. The Vols, out of the SEC, went on to beat Syracuse in the second round, finishing 22-14.
4. Princeton, Dec. 14, 1996 – Coach Bill Carmody’s Tigers, led by current Princeton coach Mitch Henderson and current Cornell coach Brian Earl, who scored the game-winning points with a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left, beat Monmouth 48-46. The Tigers went 24-4, winning the Ivy League title before falling to Cal in the first round.
3. George Washington, March 21, 2016 – After winning the MAAC regular season and losing to Iona in the MAAC finals, the Hawks had to face a fifth-year senior laden Colonials’ lineup in a second round NIT game, falling 87-71 to a 28-win team that would go on to win the NIT.
2. Villanova, Dec. 22, 2010 – Ranked No. 8 in the country at the time, the Wildcats emerged with a 76-36 win, Monmouth’s biggest home loss ever. Villanova would go on to win 21 games, including a first-round NCAA Tournament game that season.
1. Gonzaga, Dec. 29, 2001 – The 22nd-ranked Zags improved to 11-2 with a 79-54 win in front of an overflow crowd at Boylan Gym. Gonzaga, which got 20 points from Dan Dickau, went 29-4, finishing sixth in the final AP Top 25 for third-year head coach Mark Few.
Check back later Thursday night for coverage of the Monmouth-Charleston game.

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