VIDEO: Monmouth Bench Mob reenacts ‘Star Wars’ scene in win at Rutgers

Leave a comment

The Monmouth Bench Mob has been one of the biggest stories in college basketball to this point in the season, as the Hawks’ deep reserves get highly creative in celebrating the successes of their teammates. And Sunday was no different, as King Rice’s team held off Rutgers 73-67 for their fifth win over a team from a high-major conference this season (all either on the road or on a neutral court).

The Bench Mob celebrated big plays throughout the game, from “playing” baseball after one three-pointer to getting on the floor and hitting the bench press after a teammate finished a basket while being fouled (there was also the reenactment of Santa with his reindeer and the dance from “Thriller”).

But their top celebration Sunday afternoon was their reenactment of a scene from “Star Wars,” a good move given the fact that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hit theaters this weekend. The “Star Wars” celebration can be seen in the link above.

As for Santa and his reindeer, that celebration is below.

Videos courtesy of Big Ten Network

SUNDAY’S SNACKS: Monmouth picks off another high-major opponent

Monmouth players on the bench react to a play in the final seconds of the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Piscataway, N.J. Monmouth  won 73-67. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Associated Press
Leave a comment

GAME OF THE DAY: Monmouth 73, Rutgers 67

The Hawks picked up their fifth win of the season over an opponent from a high-major conference, and unlike the previous four King Rice’s team was expected to beat the Scarlet Knights. Justin Robinson led three Hawks in double figures with 14 points, and thanks to their defense Monmouth won despite shooting 4-for-18 from three. Monmouth (now 1-17 against Big Ten programs) limited Rutgers, which came into the game as a 10.5-point underdog, to 30.8 percent shooting from the field.


Pittsburgh 94, Davidson 69: It was the 9-1 Panthers who showed off some offensive firepower in Brooklyn, with Michael Young leading the way with 24 points while also grabbing six rebounds. Jamie Dixon’s team shot 54.5 percent from the field while limiting the Wildcats to 34.8 percent shooting. Bob McKillop’s team also shot 6-for-30 from three on the day as they fell to 7-2 on the season.

No. 25 UConn 88, UMass-Lowell 79: Rodney Purvis scored a season-high 28 points to lead the Huskies to the win in a game that was closer than many anticipated it being. UConn shot 64 percent from the field as a team, and five players scored in double figures. Jahad Thomas led the way for the River Hawks, who beat Boston College earlier this month, with 19 points, five rebounds and seven assists.

Samford 69, Nebraska 58: Scott Padgett’s Bulldogs picked up the program’s first-ever win over a Big Ten opponent Sunday night, with Christen Cunningham leading three Bulldogs in double figures with 20 points. Samford was able to keep Nebraska off balance offensively through the use of full-court pressure and a matchup zone, and this had a major impact on the Huskers’ supporting cast. Shavon Shields scored 25 points (10-for-14 FG) and Andrew White III added 17 and 11 boards, but their efforts weren’t enough to keep Nebraska from losing as their teammates combined to shoot 4-for-20 from the field.


Damon Lynn, NJIT: Lynn led the Highlanders to their first-ever win over a Big East program, scoring 32 points while also accounting for six rebounds and three assists in an 83-74 win at St. John’s.

Devin Martin, Maryland-Eastern Shore: Martin scored a career-high 34 points to lead the Hawks to a 79-64 win at American. Martin also had four steals in the win.

James Webb III, Boise State: Webb accounted for 31 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the Broncos’ 90-79 home win over Bradley.


Juan’ya Green, Hofstra: Green had a tough afternoon in the Pride’s 71-68 loss at Stony Brook, scoring five points on 1-for-8 shooting. Struggling with foul trouble, Green also committed four turnovers.

Brian Sullivan, Davidson: Sullivan shot just 2-for-13 from the field (2-for-10 from three) in the Wildcats’ 25-point loss to Pittsburgh in Brooklyn.

Nebraska: The Huskers have a lot of new pieces this season, and they struggled in a loss to Samford Sunday night. Remove Shavon Shields and Andrew White III from the equation, and Nebraska’s other players combined to shoot 4-for-20 from the field.


  • Jameel Warney scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Stony Brook held off Hofstra 71-68. Dealing with foul trouble throughout, Hofstra’s Juan’ya Green scored just five points.
  • Little Rock moved to 10-0 on the season with an 84-57 win over Northern Arizona. Little Rock reserves scored a total of 58 points, with Marcus Johnson Jr. accounting for 15 of them.
  • James Madison moved to 9-3 with a 67-61 win over East Carolina, with Ron Curry scoring 23 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
  • Jaylen Shaw’s three-pointer with four seconds remaining gave Coastal Carolina a 68-56 win over Alabama State.
  • Egidijus Mockevicius tallied 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead Evansville to an 85-77 win at Fresno State. Mockevicius also blocked three shots for the Purple Aces.
  • Shane Richards scored 28 points, making seven three-pointers, and Rich Williams added 23 and ten rebounds as Manhattan won 78-66 at Morgan State.

VIDEO: Monmouth ‘Bench Mob’ at it again in win over Georgetown

King Rice
Associated Press
Leave a comment

While the antics of the Monmouth Bench Mob have certainly been entertaining to this point in the season, it’s important to realize that the players these reserves are celebrating are pretty doggone good. King Rice’s team added another win over a power conference opponent to its résumé as they won 83-68 at Georgetown Tuesday night.

The Hawks, who have also beaten UCLA, Notre Dame and USC, outplayed the Hoyas from the start as they picked up their first-ever win over a Big East opponent (1-30). Je’lon Hornbeak lead a balanced effort with 18 points as Monmouth shot 10-for-20 from three and 31-for-37 from the foul line. Monmouth didn’t shoot an impressive percentage from the field overall (42.9 percent), but their ability to attack Georgetown off the dribble resulted in numerous opportunities from three by way of using the dribble drive to kick the ball out to open shooters.

With options such as Hornbeak, Justin Robinson, Micah Seaborn and Deon Jones, the Hawks have multiple players capable of hurting teams off the bounce, and that’s what happened to Georgetown. The Hoyas began the game with subpar energy, which is a bit surprising given Monmouth’s credentials to this point in the season, and the visitors too advantage. By the time Georgetown was fully engaged in the game it was too late, with Monmouth doing a solid job on the defensive end.

Georgetown shot just 32.8 percent from the field and 7-for-30 from three, and outside of freshman Jessie Govan (14 points, four rebounds) they didn’t get much offensively from their big men. Monmouth has players in the post, but that was one aspect of the matchup where the Hoyas should have been able to grab the advantage. Instead they struggled, with Bradley Hayes scoring just one point and Marcus Derrickson three.

King Rice’s veteran team plays without fear and doesn’t back down from anyone, which is a big reason why they’re off to a 7-3 start and have one of the better résumés in college basketball to this point in the season. Nothing wrong with taking joy in the exploits of the players at the end of the bench, but it’s important to understand that Monmouth is for real.

Could the Hawks be an at-large candidate come March? That remains to be seen as there’s a lot of basketball to be played, but there’s no overlooking what they’ve been able to accomplish to this point.

Monmouth looking to capitalize on bench mob’s newfound fame

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Pegged by many as a contender in the MAAC before the season began, King Rice’s Monmouth Hawks managed to make a splash nationally during the first month of the season.

Currently 5-3 on the year, the Hawks won their season opener at UCLA (which has since beaten Kentucky) and finished third at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando. While the play of guys such as Justin Robinson and Je’lon Hornbeak has been a big reason for the increased attention, so has the antics of the Monmouth Bench Mob.

With a Twitter account and multiple television appearances, the Monmouth bench’s celebrations have added buzz to the Hawks’ games. And it’s something that the school has looked to take advantage of in advance of their home opener against Wagner Sunday afternoon. The rise in popularity led to the school making T-shirts in both white and navy blue that include a few of the Monmouth bench’s best celebrations.

According to Joshua Newman of the Asbury Park Press, the school is looking into the possibility of trademarking the phrase “THE BEST BENCH IN BASKETBALL,” which is part of the Monmouth bench Twitter bio. There have also been moves to capitalize on the bench’s newfound fame in the ticket sales department, with Monmouth pushing ticket sales to the section directly across from the team bench in the aftermath of their run at the AdvoCare Invitational.

To capitalize on the these opportunities is a smart move by the school’s marketing department, especially with the team playing as it has. Had Monmouth been a team that struggled in games, the antics of their bench would be largely dismissed. But when you’ve got wins over UCLA, Notre Dame and USC to your credit, people who may not have known much about the team outside of what the reserves are doing to celebrate big plays may take note of the players making things happen on the court.

VIDEO: Monmouth celebrates win over No. 17 Notre Dame


Five ranked teams fell on Thanksgiving Day, with one of those being 17th-ranked Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish ran into Monmouth, which already had a win at UCLA to its credit, at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando and lost 70-68 after Justin Robinson hit two free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining.

The Hawks are now 3-1 on the season, with their lone defeat coming at the hands of a USC team that has also surprised people with their strong start. Above is video of the Hawks’ locker room celebration, complete with Austin Tilghman proclaiming that the Hawks “have the juice,” Daniel Pillari enjoying some of said juice and Robinson making it known that besides themselves and their fans “nobody knew we were going to come in here and do this.”

Next up for Monmouth is Dayton in Friday’s semifinals, with the Flyers coming off of a highly-entertaining win over Iowa.

Video credit: Monmouth Digital Network

Justin Robinson, Monmouth knock off No. 17 Notre Dame

King Rice
Associated Press
1 Comment

Less than two weeks after they opened their season with an upset win at UCLA, Monmouth picked up its first-ever win over a team ranked in the AP Top 25.

Two Justin Robinson free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as King Rice’s Hawks upset No. 17 Notre Dame at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, and the diminutive point guard was a problem for the Fighting Irish all night.

Robinson scored 22 points, with 14 of them coming from the foul line as Notre Dame’s guards struggled to keep the quick guard contained off the dribble. He was one of three Hawks to score in double figures, and their combination of depth and athleticism proved problematic for Mike Brey’s team. All five Notre Dame starters scored in double figures, with Demetrius Jackson’s 20 leading the way, but the lack of depth proved problematic as the game wore on.

Notre Dame didn’t get a single point from its bench, with Matt Farrell and Matt Ryan combining to play 28 minutes. That lack of depth not only cost Notre Dame Thursday night, but it’s something they’ll have to figure out if they’re to be a contender in the ACC. Jackson and Steve Vasturia ran into foul trouble against Monmouth, and the lack of a bench option capable of picking up the slack led to Monmouth building up a ten-point lead in the second half.

Notre Dame tried to account for that by slowing down the tempo, but in doing so they struggled to find quality looks against the Monmouth defense. And given the players at Rice’s disposal, it’s tough to slow the game down against a team that can get after you on both ends of the floor.

Monmouth entered this season with expectations of contending for a MAAC title alongside the likes of perennial favorites Iona and Manhattan, and their start to the season backs up that belief. With two players in Robinson and Deon Jones who have earned all-conference honors during their careers and a host of contributors that includes guards Je’lon Hornbeak and Micah Seaborn, this is a group to keep an eye on as the season wears on.

Because if they can earn a bid, Monmouth’s non-conference schedule will have them prepared for the NCAA tournament.