Monmouth clinched at least a share of the Midwest Conference crown and the right to host next weekend’s MWC Championships after an 82-60 win over Illinois College was combined with Grinnell’s 115-90 win over Knox.
The Scots blistered the net in the first half, canning 20-of-34 shots from the field which included an 8-for-15 effort from the 3-point line. Monmouth never trailed, surging to a 32-11 lead just nine minutes into the contest. The Scots grew their lead in the second half to as many as 31 at 70-39 on Paul Engo III’s bucket-and-one with 12:27 to play. Monmouth never led by fewer than 21 points the rest of the way to move to 17-7 overall and 14-3 in league play.
Seniors Justin Aluya and Will Jones each posted double-doubles. Aluya poured in a game-high 23 points with 11 rebounds – all on the defensive end – while Jones netted 15 points and 11 boards. D.J. Swift added double figures, scoring 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, hitting 4-of-6 from 3-point range and Justin Batterton added 11 as Monmouth finished the night hitting 12-of-26 threes and 29-of-57 shots from the floor.
The Scots can clinch the league crown outright – their first since 1990 – with a win Saturday at Cornell. Game time is set for 1 p.m.
Monmouth completed a sweep of Illinois College and moved into a tie for fifth in the Midwest Conference, knocking IC out of postseason contention in the process with an 83-71 win at Glennie Gym Tuesday night.
The Lady Blues led 39-33 at the half, but the Scots came out blazing in the second half hitting 17 of their 29 shots from the floor which included a 5-for-7 effort from 3-point range. Tia Robertson’s layup with 5:05 left in the third quarter gave the Scots a lead they would not surrender as Shayne Smith followed with a bucket in the lane for a 49-46 lead. A Carley Turnbull three ended the scoring in the period as Monmouth entered the final 10 minutes with a 57-50 lead.
The Scots stretched the lead to 11 three minutes into the fourth quarter when Smith scored again in the lane. A Robertson jumper two minutes later stretched the margin to 12 at 68-59. An IC 3-ball and a jumper cut the margin to 73-66 with 1:57 to play, but Monmouth answered when Smith went inside again, scoring her 15th points of the night, giving the Scots a 75-66 lead. Monmouth then held off the Lady Blues, sinking all six of their free throws in the final 42 seconds.
Robertson finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds while Turnbull led all scorers with 23 points. Yvonne Ornelas rounded out the double digit scorers with 10, hitting all four of her free throws and hitting two of her three, 3-point attempts as Monmouth shot 30-of-56 from the floor which included an 8-for-11 performance from beyond the arc.
Monmouth takes on the role of spoiler again Saturday when they wrap up their season with a 3 p.m. game Saturday at Cornell. The Rams are tied with Ripon for first place in the MWC.