Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Monmouth 85, Siena 69: 5 Observations

A handful of takeaways from the Hawks' fifth straight win, which moved them into sole possession of first place in the MAAC standings:

  • Siena missed the presence of Marquis Wright, but still has a bright outlook.
    Freshman Kenny Wormley drew the start for the Saints against Justin Robinson, and struggled in the form of just five points in 22 minutes as Wright continues to rehab a stress fracture in his foot. "We're getting marginal play from our point guard position," Jimmy Patsos said of Wormley's effort, "but he's a freshman going up against the best player in the league. We're learning. Kenny's a good kid, he's going to try."

    "I like Jimmy's team," Monmouth head coach King Rice said of Siena. "I think it's hard when your starting point guard goes down, especially when he's one of the best players in this league. I hope Marquis gets back quickly. Jimmy will have them right where they need to be once he gets back."

  • Business as usual.
    Following Friday's emotionally charged victory over Iona, the tenor of Monmouth's activity remained unchanged as the Hawks moved on to preparing for Siena. "It didn't feel like anything different," said Justin Robinson, whose 23 points led all scorers on a day in which the junior point guard became the newest member of Monmouth's 1,000-point club. "We just kept moving forward. We knew that whatever happened was going to happen. We've just got to play basketball and stay together through everything."

  • Dan Pillari.
    Known for being one of the leaders of Monmouth's nationally acclaimed "bench mob," the sophomore walk-on made the most of his extended opportunity Monday afternoon, scoring seven points and draining two deep three-pointers after Rice inserted him into the game with 3:08 remaining. "Everybody locally understands Dan Pillari can play basketball," Rice said of his homegrown talent. "He tore us up yesterday in practice worse than he did in the game...he was hitting everything for about four drills. That kid shoots the ball as well as anybody, and the speed of the game is starting to slow down for him. Don't be surprised if before he's done, he can contribute outside of practice and contribute sometime in his career in a game."

  • Monmouth's transition game had another solid effort.
    The Hawks forced 21 turnovers for the second game in a row, and three days after converting that number into 30 points against Iona, Monmouth secured 26 points off Siena's miscues on Monday. The back-to-back efforts speak volumes going into Thursday's tilt against Manhattan, a team notorious for its ability to take opponents out of what they try to do offensively and make them as uncomfortable as possible. If the Hawks can put up a similar number at Draddy Gymnasium, a venue in which they have never won in program history, a sixth straight win may be easier to come by.

  • The outside shooting is starting to be more impactful for Monmouth.
    Following last week's win at Fairfield, Rice stressed his desire to see his team attempt anywhere from 25-28 three-point field goals per game. On Monday, the Hawks backed up a 12-for-22 display from distance against Iona with an 11-for-26 result against Siena. "I've got a bunch of kids that want to please the coaching staff," Rice admitted. "When we don't hit the numbers we're supposed to, I've just got to coach them more, because they'll shoot the threes if I do a good enough job of letting them know that's what we want. That just makes us more dangerous when we use the three-point line. I haven't talked as much about it since early in the year, and they seem to be getting it. They always come into practice shooting, and we want to incorporate that into our game."

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