The Monmouth College men’s basketball team heads into their bye weekend after a 78-66 loss at first-place Illinois College on Wednesday night. The Scots (12-9, 6-6) were led in scoring by Max Maring (Port Byron, Illinois) who turned in a career-high 22 points.
The teams traded early baskets with Turner Plumer (Canton, Illinois) tying the game 2-2 and Jordan Hill (Chicago, Illinois) made a layup for a 5-4 IC lead. The Blue Boys scored the next five points to lead 10-4 before Plumer made a free throw. Hill got a steal and a layup before Maring made a 3-pointer. IC went on another 5-0 run to lead 18-10 before Hill made a jumper. The Blue Boys, who were 0-for-16 from deep in a Saturday loss to Grinnell, started 6-for-1 from 3-point range to lead 27-17. After knocking down a second 3-pointer, Maring was fouled and made all three free throws for a 27-20 game.
The hosts went on an 8-2 run to lead 35-22 with Declan Flynn (Monmouth, Illinois) getting the bucket for the Scots. Plumer knocked down a pair of free throws before IC scored four in a row to lead 39-24 with 3:25 to play in the half. Jason Huber (Carpentersville, Illinois) made a 3-pointer and Maring scored four points in a row. Huber scored at the first-half buzzer to cut the IC lead to 45-33.
Plumer scored to start the second half and then added another layup. David Williams (Loves Park, Illinois) made a layup and Plumer scored again to cut the IC lead to 49-41. Maring and Hill had consecutive baskets as the Scots pulled within six and Kyle Taylor (Moline, Illinois) hit a 3-pointer with 13:48 to play. IC responded with a 6-2 run as Flynn scored for the Scots. Hill was called for a technical foul and IC pushed the lead to 61-51 with 8:56 to play.
Hill’s layup ended a long scoring drought for the Scots who went nearly six minutes without a field goal. Williams made two free throws to trim the lead to 61-55. Maring buried another 3-pointer to cut the IC lead to four but the Blue Boys answered with a layup. After a technical on IC, Williams split free throws and the Scots turned the ball over. IC pushed the lead to 67-59 on a 3-pointer and then blocked a shot to regain possession with just over two minutes to play. They hit another 3-pointer for a quick six-point swing and a 70-59 lead. Maring scored but IC got two offensive boards on their next possession and made two free throws with 1:23 to play. Taylor hit a jumper and Monmouth called timeout with 1:08 to play. IC knocked down free throws and HIll made a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left. The hosts dribbled out the clock to win 78-66.
Maring led the Scots with a career-high 22 points while Hill (13) and Plumer (12) were also in double figures. Plumer grabbed six rebounds and Taylor led the team with six assists.
MONMOUTH MOMENTS: Maring has been in double digits five times with the other four times all finishing at exactly 10 points. He made a career-high three 3-pointers. Hill has scored in double figures 14 times this season, seven times in MWC action. Plumer has scored in double figures 11 times, including seven MWC games. Monmouth forced 15 IC turnovers and committed 13. IC won the battle of the boards 47-33. Illinois College won the first matchup 71-39 in Monmouth on Dec. 6. Monmouth is 15-9 against IC under coach Skrivseth including a 7-5 mark on the road. The series is tied 5-5 over the last 10 games. With four games left, the Scots are in fourth place in the MWC. One win behind Beloit and one win ahead of Knox. Monmouth has the weekend off before traveling to Knox for a 5:30 p.m. game on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
***Courtesy of Nathan Baliva, Monmouth College***