Monmouth Hawks

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Monmouth basketball coach King Rice signs five-year contract

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WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) — King Rice, who has led Monmouth to a 55-15 record over the past two years, has signed a new five-year contract through the 2021-22 season.

University vice president and athletic director Dr. Marilyn McNeil announced the deal Friday.

Rice has been named MAAC Coach of the Year two years in a row, just the second coach in conference history to accomplish that feat outright. He has coached the Hawks to consecutive national postseason tournaments, hosting NIT games in West Long Branch two straight years.

Monmouth had a program-best 18 MAAC wins last season.

Rice has posted a 106-92 record at Monmouth.

Jackson leads No. 9 UNC past Monmouth, 102-74

AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Justin Jackson is clicking just in time for No. 9 North Carolina to start conference play.

Jackson scored 28 points to lead the Tar Heels past Monmouth 102-74 on Wednesday night.

“Just seeing him come out like that is, like, `Wow,”‘ teammate Isaiah Hicks said. “We’re kind of like, `All right, Justin, what are you going to do?”‘

Kennedy Meeks added 17 points and 12 rebounds and Hicks finished with 15 points to help the Tar Heels (12-2) wrap up the nonconference portion of the schedule with their second straight win.

Micah Seaborn scored 19 points and Je’Lon Hornbeak added 17 before fouling out for Monmouth (10-3), which had its program-record nine-game winning streak snapped.

Three of the junior’s four highest-scoring games of his career have come in the past three weeks.

Jackson finished this one 9 of 15 from the field and his six 3-pointers were one shy of the career high he set Dec. 7 against Davidson in a game he scored a then-career-best 27 points. He surpassed that 10 days later with his 34-point performance against Kentucky .

“I just try to prepare myself for the game and take advantage of the opportunities,” Jackson said. “I mean, if y’all want to call it more confident or more aggressive or whatever you want to call it.”

The Tar Heels led by double figures for all but a few seconds of the second half but didn’t completely pull away from the pesky Hawks until Monmouth was whistled for three technical fouls in a 55-second span. One of those was called on coach King Rice – the starting point guard on North Carolina’s Final Four team in 1991.

“I let some things get to me that I shouldn’t have let get to me, and I think it went through our team and then our kids let their emotions get the best of them,” said Rice, who broke down in tears during his postgame news conference. “And North Carolina’s too good of a team for you to not keep your cool.”

Joel Berry hit all six free throws he attempted after those Ts, the last of which put the Tar Heels up by 20 with 16:59 to play.

Tony Bradley had 10 points for the Tar Heels. Justin Robinson scored all 16 of his points in the first half for Monmouth.

BIG PICTURE

Monmouth: There’s no shame for a mid-major to lose at the Dean Smith Center, where UNC is 105-4 against nonconference opponents under Roy Williams. Monmouth’s path to the NCAA Tournament almost assuredly runs through the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference – the Hawks were the preseason favorites to win the league – effectively making this a no-lose situation for them.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels didn’t let up much in their first game in a week and with the Atlantic Coast Conference opener looming in three days. It’s hard to nitpick a 28-point victory over a team that should make the NCAA Tournament, but UNC can’t be happy about the 17 turnovers that led to 19 points for Monmouth.

“I was a lot more comfortable our last game, after the second half (of a rout of Northern Iowa on Dec. 21), because I thought after Northern Iowa, we did some good things,” Williams said. “I don’t feel quite as good right now. … Whether I like it or not, (league play) is here.”

SICK HEELS

Williams said both he and Berry underwent two intravenous treatments in the hours leading up to the game. “Last night, I felt like junk and Joel felt like junk,” Williams said. “I was just hoping he would be able to play better than I could coach.”

UP NEXT

Monmouth: Returns home to take on Rider on Saturday as MAAC play begins.

North Carolina: Opens its ACC schedule Saturday with a trip to Georgia Tech.

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

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

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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

Associated Press
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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.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

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.

STARRED

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.

STRUGGLED

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.

OTHER NOTABLE SCORES

  • 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.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Monmouth picks up another quality win

Associated Press
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GAME OF THE DAY: Wisconsin 64, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 49

Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig scored 15 points apiece as Wisconsin beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 64-49. The Islanders shot 32.8 percent from the field and 4.-for-18 from three. But the drama came after the game, as head coach Bo Ryan announced that he’ll be retiring effective immediately. Associate head coach Greg Gard will take over in an interim role, essentially having four months to audition for the job full-time.

More on Ryan’s retirement can be read here.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 7 Duke 99, Georgia Southern 65: Playing without the injured Amile Jefferson, the Blue Devils took care of business at home with Brandon Ingram leading the way. Ingram, now starting at the four with Jefferson out, tallied 26 points and 14 rebounds to lead the way for Duke. As a team the Blue Devils posted an offensive rebound percentage of 57.9 percent, converting 22 offensive boards into 27 second-chance points. Ingram was one of five Blue Devils to score in double figures, with Grayson Allen added 18 points and Derryck Thornton Jr. 15.

Monmouth 83, Georgetown 68: King Rice’s Hawks shot 10-for-20 from three and limited the Hoyas to 32.8 percent shooting as they beat another power conference opponent. Je’lon Hornbeak led five Monmouth players in double figures with 18 points, and Monmouth now has wins over UCLA, Notre Dame, USC and Georgetown with the UCLA and Georgetown wins coming on the road.

More about this game can be read here.

Oregon 78, UC Irvine 63: Elgin Cook scored 26 points as the Ducks took care of the preseason favorite to win the Big West. Cook was one of five Oregon players to score in double figures, but it was their defense that made the difference. UC Irvine committed 22 turnovers, with Oregon turning those mistakes into 28 points. Just as important for Oregon: Dwayne Benjamin and Tyler Dorsey both played. Benjamin rolled his ankle in the loss at Boise State, and a knee injury sidelined Dorsey for the last two games. Now, they wait for Dylan Ennis to get completely healthy.

STARRED

Caris LeVert, Michigan: LeVert not only surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career but he also posted a triple-double in the Wolverines’ 77-62 win over Northern Kentucky. Thirteen points, ten rebounds and ten assists.

Brandon Ingram, Duke: Starting at the four in place of the injured Amile Jefferson, Ingram finished the 99-65 win over Georgia Southern with 26 points and 14 rebounds.

Cameron Ridley, Texas: The senior center accounted for 19 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocks in the Longhorns’ win over Appalachian State.

STRUGGLED

Bradley Hayes, Georgetown: One of the most improved players in the Big East, Hayes struggled in the Hoyas’ loss to Monmouth. He grabbed ten rebounds but scored just one point, shooting 0-for-4 from the field.

Appalachian State from two: The Mountaineers shot 12-for-20 from three in their 67-55 loss at Texas. Why’d they score just 55 points? They shot 6-for-40 inside of the arc (Texas blocked 15 shots).

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Playing without Thomas Welsh (illness) and Prince Ali (bone bruise in knee), No. 22 UCLA held off Louisiana-Lafayette 89-80. Bryce Alford led the way with 27 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Shawn Long paced the visitors with 26 points and 16 boards.
  • No. 23 Cincinnati rebounded from its loss at No. 10 Xavier over the weekend by beating Norfolk State, 75-59. Farad Cobb scored 20 points and Gary Clark added 19 and seven rebounds for the Bearcats.

OTHER NOTABLE OUTCOMES

  • Ole Miss picked up a solid home win, scoring 99 points in their 19-point win over Louisiana Tech. Stefan Moody scored 29 points and Rasheed Brooks added 20 for the Rebels, who shot nearly 57 percent from the field.
  • Also of note in Michigan’s win over Northern Kentucky was the return of point guard Derrick Walton Jr. After missing the last three games with an ankle injury, Walton scored 16 points against NKU.
  • South Carolina moved to 9-0 on the season with a 79-54 win over Drexel. The Dragons trailed by four at the half, but making just one of their first 18 shots in the second half coincided with the Gamecocks taking control of the game. P.J. Dozier scored 16 points and Sindarius Thornwell 13 for South Carolina.
  • Alex Olah scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Tre Demps added 18 points as Northwestern rolled to a 78-48 win over Mississippi Valley State. The Wildcats are now 9-1 on the season.
  • Memphis survived a tough test from Southern, winning 72-67. K.J. Lawson and Trahson Burrell led a balanced offense with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Southern’s Jared Sam led all scorers with 26 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds.
  • In its first game since beating North Carolina over the weekend, Texas picked up a 12-point win over Appalachian State (67-55). Cameron Ridley finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Longhorns, who blocked 15 shots as a team.
  • Tied with VCU at 27 at halftime, Georgia Tech outscored the Rams 50-37 in the second half as they won 77-64 in Atlanta. Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 20 points for the Yellow Jackets, who are now 7-2.
  • Oklahoma State beat Longwood 73-55 in a game that was delayed 43 minutes due to electrical issues at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Leyton Hammonds scored a career-high 22 points in the win.
  • Marcus Allen scored 17 points and Dorian Pickens 16 as Stanford took care of DePaul, 79-60. The Cardinal shot 10-for-19 from three and outscored the Blue Demons 19-4 from the foul line.

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

Associated Press
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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.