Monmouth never trails in win over Iona

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WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – Monmouth University Men’s Basketball (7-6, 1-1 MAAC) never trailed in topping Iona College (2-7, 0-2 MAAC) on Sunday afternoon at the OceanFirst Bank Center, 73-61. Deion Hammond (Mitchellville, MD/Riverdale Baptist School) and Ray Salnave (Elmont, NY/Benjamin N. Cardozo) each added 12 points in the victory.

Iona cut the MU lead to four in the early stages of the second half, but the Hawks posted a 9-2 run to take a double-digit lead. The Gaels again came knocking, trimming it to eight on an Isaiah Ross triple, but George Papas (Jersey City, NJ/Union Catholic) converted a three-point play to spark a 7-0 run to make it a 15-point Hawks lead. The margin would not again be inside single digits, as the Blue and White converted 20-of-25 foul shots in the final period to secure its first league win of the season.

Monmouth leapt to a 9-3 lead but a pair of Iona triples had them within two at 12-10. The Gaels remained within one possession until a 9-2 run that included dunks from Melik Martin (York, PA/York Catholic) and Nikkei Rutty (New Rochelle, NY/Trinity-Pawling) put the Hawks up 10, 30-20. The visitors knocked in consecutive threes just 38 seconds apart to trim it back to three before Gob Gabriel’s (Manchester, NJ/Bradford Christian Academy) coasting layup gave MU a five-point lead at the break.


“This league is going to be a five or six-point game every night down the stretch and the teams that stay together the longest will be the team that wins. The Friday night into an early Sunday game is a tough thing, the kids are a little tired and we just tried to keep their minds fresh and I think that paid off for us today.” – Head Coach King Rice

“Nikkei Rutty has been growing and growing, he started some games for us last year and now we’re watching a young man grow up. Some of those rebounds he grabbed today, and some of the pitch outs to our shooters was incredible to see. I keep saying we have a group of guys that gives us a lot of ways to win.” – Rice on Nikkei Rutty

“I was just trying to come and give good minutes to the team. We know we have to come out against Iona every time, it’s always a tough game so we come with some grit and energy and I was just trying to help my teammates any way I could, rebounding or anything else. This was an important win, everybody played hard and brought what they needed to bring.” – Sophomore Nikkei Rutty

-Monmouth grabbed its first MAAC victory of the season.
-The Hawks topped Iona for the seventh time in program history, and are now 4-2 vs. the Gaels in West Long Branch.
-The Hawks grabbed a season-best 16 steals.
-MU never trailed in the game and led for 38:56.
-Deion Hammond scored in doubles for the 10th time this season and seventh game in a row.
-Hammond’s four steals is a career high.

-Marcus McClary tied his career-best with five rebounds for the third game in a row.
-Sam Chaput tied his career-high with three steals for the second consecutive game.

-Nikkei Rutty led MU in rebounding with six.
-10 of 11 Hawks to see action scored in the game.
-Ray Salnave scored in double figures for the fourth game in a row and 11th time this season.
-Salnave’s 10 made free throws are the most by a Hawk this season.
-Salnave dished out a season-best six assists.

-MU outshot Iona 44% to 38.8%.
-The Hawks posted an even assist-turnover ratio with 13 of each.
-The teams were even in rebounding with 30 apiece.
-MU dominated the paint to a 28-14 margin.
-The Blue and White topped Iona off the bench 30-17.
-Isaiah Ross led the Gaels with 17 points.

-Monmouth hosts Canisius on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN+.

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