Salve’s second straight game winner leads Monmouth over UAlbany

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WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – Ray Salnave (Elmont, NY/Benjamin N. Cardozo) netted a game-winning basket in the final seconds for the second consecutive game, this one with 2.8 seconds left to lead Monmouth University Men’s Basketball (6-5) over the University at Albany (6-8) on Saturday, 72-70. 

A back-and-forth second half that saw six ties and 10 lead changes had Monmouth with its biggest lead of five with 5:20 to go after Deion Hammond (Mitchellville, MD/Riverdale Baptist School) canned a transition three. UAlbany fought back to take a one-point lead on an Ahmad Clark finish with 2:13 left, and in a tie game, Salnave hit a stepback jumper with 1:11 remaining to put the Hawks up. MU led by as many as four in the final minute, but the Great Danes got Trey Hutcheson open for a game-tying three in the left corner with nine seconds to play. Salnave came up the floor, went left and finished the and-one with 2.8 to play to put the Hawks up to stay.

UAlbany leapt to a 29-14 lead at the 9:28 mark of the first, making four of their first five from three and at one point shooting north of 75%. MU clawed back, thanks to a 9-0 run keyed by seven Hammond points, including a three, to draw within four. After the Great Danes went up six, Sam Ibiezugbe (Simsbury, CT/The Masters School) completed a three-point play at the rim and Salnave knocked in a pair of late free throws to send the Hawks to the locker room trailing by just one.

“I really love my team. I love these kids because they believe in each other. It’s still growing and I got two guys up here [Hammond and Salnave] that can take over a game at any time and we’re very fortunate with how they played today.” – Head Coach King Rice

“I looked up and we had 8.2 seconds, and I wasn’t calling a timeout. Ray gets the ball, we’ve talked about it and everybody is cool with Ray being the guy that gets the last shot. The score is tied so I told Ray to go get us a bucket and get on out of here.” – King Rice on game-winning basket

“These are moments that you dream about and hopefully they happen one day and luckily for me it just turned out two games back-to-back that the ball ends up in my hands and that brings the team home. I’m just happy I converted both times and we walk away with a W.” – Salnave on the game-winning basket

-Ray Salnave netted the game-winning basket for the second game in a row.
-Salnave has now scored to tie or put Monmouth up in the final 15 seconds of regulation or overtime eight times in his career, and now two games in a row.
-Deion Hammond scored double digits for the eighth time this season and 50th time in his career.
-Hammond now has eight career games of 20+ points, with four of them coming in the last five contests.
-The Hawks move to 4-2 all time against UAlbany, and 3-0 in West Long Branch. 
-Hammond connected on his first five shots from the field.
-Mustapha Traore’s 11 points marks his 16th career double-digit effort and fifth this season.
-Ray Salnave netted double figures for the ninth time this year and 40th time in his career.
-Louie Pillari played in his 100th career game, one of two Hawks on the current roster to reach that mark (Mustapha Traore).

-The teams were separated by just one rebound in favor of the Great Danes, 39-38.
-MU topped UA in points off turnovers, 19-14.
-The Hawks outran Albany to the tune of 18-3 on the fast break. 
-Monmouth was outshot 48.1% to 35.8%.

-Monmouth opens MAAC play at Siena at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 3. The game will air on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app as well as on the radio via the Shore Sports Network.

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