What happens when you match a team that likes to shoot the lights out against a defensive minded team? You get an ugly game where both teams combine to shoot 33% from the field and a #1 seed in the Tournament almost gets eliminated in the first round.
Heading into the game most basketball fans didn’t Monmouth much of a chance because they were a #16 seed but the Hawks showed they belonged early on in this game. Monmouth showed why they hold Princeton to a NCAA record low of 21 points back in December by holding ‘Nova to under 32% shooting and their third lowest point total of the seasons this afternoon.
While Monmouth did a great job of slowing down Villanova they were unable to get into any kind of a groove on the offensive end themselves. They missed their first 12 field goals and didn’t make their first field goal until the 11:13 mark of the first half.
With eight minutes left in the first half things were looking bad for both teams as they had combined for 14 turnovers and 16 points. The teams finished the game with 31 turnovers and just 30 field goals.
With six minutes left to go in the game Villanova went through a stretch where they missed 10 of 11 shots which allowed Monmouth to enjoy one last rally. Monmouth’s Dejan Delic scored nine straight points during this stretch which fueled a 13-3 run for Monmouth that allowed them to pull within seven at 47-40. That’s as close as the Hawks would get as the Cats put the clamps down on Monmouth and coasted.
Ray Allen rebounded from his eye injury to score a game high 19 points. This is a guy that had his eye popped out of the socket and he was still able to lead all scorers in his first game back since the injury last week. He refused to play with goggles to protect his eyes because it interfered with his ability to see the rim - this guy has huge cajones and I now have a new favorite player in the Tournament.
Monmouth center John Bunch caused Nova headaches with his size and shot blocking. He’s a 7'2 giant that was one of the top shot blockers in nation this year yet he only played 17 minutes today. When he was in the game ‘Nova was unable to get anything in the paint and he provided them with a rebounding advantage.
Fri 03/17/06, 6:16 pm EST