Chris Brady saved his best for last on Monmouth's trip to China, erupting for 34 points and 18 rebounds in last two games, both of which were Hawks wins. (Photo courtesy of The Shore Sports Network)
The basketball portion of Monmouth's 14-day excursion to China is over, but the Hawks have several positive takeaways from a 3-1 stint overseas that wrapped up early this morning with the second of two consecutive victories over the Chinese club Anhui Wenyi.
"You always want to win," head coach King Rice declared after Monmouth closed out a 106-95 victory just 24 hours removed from a 111-101 win over Anhui Wenyi Wednesday morning. "I thought we won the three because of how we played. We played a lot better after that first game, so the thing I liked is us getting together as a group, and they kept getting tighter as the games went on. It's going to be a lot of fun because everybody is an unselfish kid on this team."
Monmouth's unselfishness has allowed the Hawks to unleash a different breakout star every night thus far, showcasing the depth behind point guard Justin Robinson, who will enter his junior season as a reigning first team all-MAAC selection and potential Player of the Year. This morning, Collin Stewart was able to shine with 22 points, knocking down six three-pointers for his second turn as leading scorer on the trip. However, the biggest emergence over the past 48 hours has been that of Chris Brady. A somewhat forgotten presence alongside Zac Tillman on the front line, Rice's second 6-10 center closed his ledger with 24 points and seven rebounds on Wednesday, and followed it up with a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double this morning.
"It's all about preparation," Brady said after Wednesday's game. "I think in transition, everybody was clicking, everybody was being unselfish about the ball, and everything was going in."
The last two games were played in four 12-minute quarters, a change from ten-minute periods in the first two contests. Regardless, Monmouth was able to overcome the additional length, plus an aggressive opponent on the offensive end, to prevail.
"We had to face some adversity because we let up a little bit," Rice admitted this morning, "but then we were able to get it back under control. I thought Je'lon (Hornbeak) and Austin (Tilghman) made some key plays. The team just got better on this trip, and I'm very excited about this year."
***Reports from Monmouth athletic communications assistant Gary Kowal contributed to this story. For further updates on Monmouth's tour of China, visit MonmouthHawks.com***