Monmouth takes second straight, downs Norfolk State

Courtesy of MonmouthHawks.com

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – Monmouth University Men’s Basketball (4-5) got 24 points from Deion Hammond (Mitchellville, MD/Riverdale Baptist School) and went five-for-six from the foul line inside the final minute to top Norfolk State University (3-5) on Wednesday, 75-71. The win is Monmouth’s second in as many nights, and concludes a nine-game stretch in 22 days for the Blue and White.

A 6-0 MU run capped by a pair of George Papas (Jersey City, NJ/Union Catholic) foul shots gave the Hawks a 10-point lead with 9:42 to go, but a 13-4 run by Norfolk State got them within one at 4:59, just a missed free throw away from tying it. The Hawks responded with the next seven points, including five from Hammond and a critical floater from Marcus McClary (Linden, NJ/The Patrick School) to extend it back to eight. The Spartans refused to go quietly, taking advantage of their offensive trips and cutting it back to a two-point game with eight seconds remaining before Hammond put it on ice with a pair of free throws.

In a first half that saw the Hawks take five charges, the home team took an early five-point lead on a Hammond three ball. After Norfolk State answered with a 7-0 run to go up one, MU build back the five-point edge on a Pillari triple, and eventually led by as many as six with 6:08 to go in the period after another Hammond trey. The Blue and White took a five-point lead to the room in a half that saw them trail for only 13 total seconds.

NOTES AND QUOTES
“We got to finish two at home and hopefully that sends our kids home with a Happy Thanksgiving. We really played a good basketball game today, and after the first half – that might have been our best half of ball – we couldn’t shake these guys. I told our guys earlier today that they were a better team than we saw last night and they proved that today. We did just enough to get it done and that’s a sign of growth.” – Head Coach King Rice

“The biggest takeaway is that we have to do everything together, as a team and the results will be a W.” – Junior Deion Hammond

-Deion Hammond’s 24 points is the most by a Hawk this season.
-Hammond has now scored 20+ points in three games in a row, and seven times in his career.
-The Hawks win consecutive games for the first time this season.
-Mustapha Traore picked up his fourth double-digit scoring game this year and 15th of his career.
-Ray Salnave dished out five assists for the third time this season.
-MU finishes a nine-game November with four wins.
-Monmouth has now played nine of 11 current MEAC members.

NUMBERS CRUNCH
-MU trailed for just 13 seconds in the first half.
-Monmouth outshot Norfolk State 48% to 44%.
-The Hawks had 16 assists and 13 turnovers, finishing in the positives for a second game in a row.
-MU was better off the bench, 21-16.
-NSU was led by Joe Bryant’s 19 points.

UP NEXT
-Monmouth has a 13-day layoff before heading to New Jersey foe Princeton on December 10th for an 8:00 p.m. tip.

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