The Monmouth University Hawks came up just short of topping the Princeton University Tigers earlier tonight in front of just over 1,200 fans at the MAC Center in West Long Branch. Tonight’s game put a Northeast Conference (NEC) team head-to-head against an Ivy League team and the NEC should be pretty pleased with the results. While Monmouth didn’t win this one, they played competitively during the first few minutes of the game and again in the second half. From this spectator’s view, that’s what the Hawks need to work on most – keeping the level of intensity up throughout the entire game. As I watched the game tonight, what struck me was how the guys on the Princeton team began to crack a little bit under pressure once their lead was cut from 12 or 15 points down to 3. A Monmouth team that keeps its energy high throughout the entire game would have been able to exploit that crack in Princeton’s concentration and, possibly, come away with a win tonight.That said, you can’t take anything away from the Princeton Tigers. They were a more polished basketball team and they worked much more smoothly as a team than the Hawks. And they were aggressive, too! The Tigers drew a really horrible technical foul call out of the referee heading into halftime by playing aggressively when no one is looking. As a Monmouth fan, that annoys the hell out of me because it was a bad call by the referee (I hope the particular referee that made this call checks the tape and sees all of the bad calls he made all night). However, as a guy who knows a little bit about basketball (and I do mean a little bit), it was a smart, aggressive move on Princeton’s part.
Imagine that – a smart move by someone from Princeton. Ha!
You can get a great review of the game and some post-game quotes from Tony Graham over at The Hawks Nest. For example, Mr. Graham has quotes from Coach Dave Calloway regarding how the Hawks coaching staff made some adjustments at halftime that put the defense on better footing against a very tight Princeton offense. What I also like about Mr. Graham’s post-game article is that he has quotes from the Hawks players. Like this one from Hett:
“Coach (Dave Calloway) trusts us to come down and make a good read,” Hett said. “I don’t think I made the best read. They kind of ran a couple of guys at me.”
And Hett is correct – as the strongest offensive player for the Hawks, Princeton made sure to put additional defenders on him when he came down the court. Frankly, that’s to be expected at this point. Speaking of the most impressive Hawks on the court, this Jordan Davis (#10) is a pretty solid player. He could easily become one of the big fan favorites if he keeps up the hard work and keeps up his tenacity in future games. He had a very impressive outing tonight.
In any event, as a fan I was very pleased with how the Hawks played in the second half and I hope that they keep that type of intensity going throughout the entire contest in future games. Enjoy the 36 pictures below – including a Santa Claus sighting!