By R.L. Bynum
Coach King Rice’s Monmouth team just keeps rolling and, with the help of center Walker Miller, earned two road wins in three days.
With Sunday’s 56–52 win at Pittsburgh and Tuesday’s 69–60 victory at Ivy League favorite Yale, the Hawks (9–2, 2–0 Metro Atlantic) lead the country with seven road wins and have seven non-conference victories, tied for the third-most in program history.
It was a nice birthday gift for Rice, who turned 53 on Tuesday.
“I’m so proud of this group,” Rice said. “Anything we get hit with, they keep finding ways to get it done. Extremely happy to be 9-2 with a schedule that nobody picked us to be 9-2 in. This group keeps finding ways.”
After battling foul trouble and only scoring seven points against the Panthers, Miller collected 16 points (10 in the first half) and nine rebounds in the victory over the Bulldogs.
Yale cut its deficit to three with 5:31 left, but Miller’s follow shot with 1:45 remaining pushed the lead to eight. The Hawks put the game away by making all 14 free-throw attempts in the final 5:16.
“I think this one speaks to the resilience of this team and how together we are,” Miller said. “The more together we are as a team, the better we can be. I think our togetherness pops out in the fact that we keep winning these types of games.”
Miller finished with three fouls against Yale, marking the sixth time he’s had at least three fouls. Two first-half fouls led him to sit for most of the first half against Pittsburgh. He fouled out of the Nov. 13 win over Towson with 11 points and the loss at St. John’s with 13 points.
That hasn’t been an issue in his best two games: one foul when he scored a career-high 24 points at Canisius on Dec. 5 and two fouls when he scored 23 in the season-opening loss on Nov. 8 at Charlotte.
Brandon Huffman had an efficient night Monday in Jacksonville State’s 110–80 home victory over LaGrange to snap a two-game losing streak and move to 4–5.
In 13 minutes, he scored a season-high 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds. His follow shot with six minutes left push the lead to 30.
It was his fourth career game of at least 17 points, all as a Gamecock: 20 at Austin Peay on Jan. 23, 18 against Austin Peay on Feb. 27, 17 against Tennessee State on Jan. 14 and 16 vs. Tennessee Tech on Dec. 13.
It’s interesting to note that Carolina only beat Elon by 17 points but Jacksonville State won at Elon 93–81 on Nov. 27, with Huffman scoring 11 points.
His career-high at Carolina was nine in a win against Tulane on Dec. 3, 2017.
Walker Kessler continues to be a shot-blocking machine for Auburn. In the Tigers’ 70–44 home win Tuesday over North Alabama, he blocked five shots and had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Kessler has 33 blocks on the season and has had four or more in five games, with a season-high of six against Central Florida on Dec. 1. He is tied for ninth in the country with 3.33 blocks per game.
Garrison Brooks scored a season-low four points in Mississippi State’s 79–50 home win Tuesday over Georgia State with six rebounds. He was 1 of 6 from the floor with one block.
Earlier this week, news came that Siena’s Andrew Platek had season-ending surgery to repair a full tear in the Achilles tendon in his left leg. He hopes to return next season for Siena.
How the six former Tar Heels did
Garrison Brooks, Mississippi State center
79–50 Tuesday win vs. Georgia State — Started; 28 minutes, 4 points, 1–6 FG, 2–2 FT, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, +17
Season statistics — 10 games, 10 starts, 10.7 points, 46.3 FG%, 40% 3FG%, 78.6% FT%, 7.0 rebounds; season totals of 5 assists, 6 blocks, 2 steals
Up next — 6 p.m. Friday vs. Furman, SEC Network; 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Winthrop in Jackson, Miss.
Brandon Huffman, Jacksonville State forward/center
110–80 Monday win vs. LaGrange — Started, 13 minutes, 17 points, 8–8 FG, 1–2 FT, 8 rebounds, 1 turnover, +13
Season statistics — 8 games, 8 starts, 9.4 points, 55.1 FG%, 63.6 FT%, 6.3 rebounds; season totals of 2 assists, 16 turnovers, 8 blocks and 1 steal
Up next — 6 p.m. Wednesday vs. FIU, ESPN+; 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Alabama, SEC Network
Walker Kessler, Auburn forward/center
70–44 Tuesday win vs. North Alabama — Started; 23 minutes, 14 points, 6–8 FG, 2–3 FT, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 5 blocks, +20
Season statistics — 10 games, 10 starts, 8.2 points, 51.4 FG%, 11.8% 3FG, 50.0 FT%, 7.1 rebounds; season totals of 10 assists, 33 blocks, 13 steals
Up next — 9 p.m. Saturday at Saint Louis, CBS Sports Network; 6 p.m. Wednesdayvs. Murray State
Walker Miller, Monmouth forward
56–52 Sunday win at Pittsburgh — Started; 25 minutes, 7 points, 2–6 FG, 3–4 FT, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 4 fouls, +5
69–50 Tuesday win at Yale — Started; 31 minutes, 16 points, 6–13 FG, 0–2 3FG, 4–4 FT, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers, 1 block, 1 steal
Season statistics — 11 games, 11 starts, 13.9 points, 45.7 FG%, 27.8 3FG%, 87.5 FT%, 6.7 rebounds; season totals of 10 assists, 13 blocks, 7 steals
Up next — 2 p.m. Sunday vs. Colgate; 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Hofstra
Andrew Platek, Siena guard
Out for the season after having surgery to repair a full tear in the Achilles tendon in his left leg
Season statistics — 5 games, 3 starts, 9.0 points, 40.9 FG%, 31.3 3FG%, 4–4 FT, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists
Seventh Woods, Morgan State guard
Season statistics — 4 games, 1 start, 6.8 points, 56.4 FG%, 20 3FG%, 1.5 rebounds; season total of 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Up next — 4 p.m. Saturday at Mount St. Mary’s; 5 p.m. Tuesday vs. James Madison
Photo via @MonmouthBBall