Walker Miller scores 22 to lead Monmouth to win; impressive games for Brooks, Huffman and Kessler

By R.L. Bynum

Walker Miller’s amazing season at Monmouth just keeps getting better.

Miller scored a game-high 22 points in Sunday’s 76–63 road victory over Quinnipiac for his fifth game of at least 22 points this season. He added a 3-pointer, six rebounds and two steals.

He got the better of his matchup with Quinnipiac’s Kevin Marfo, the MAAC’s leading rebounder, who finished with seven points and nine rebounds.

“I wanted to take on the challenge and try to match up to Marfo and play up to his level and try and help us win a game,” Miller said. “He’s a really good player and does a lot of things a lot of bigs can’t do. So, it was a challenge for me to match up with him on every possession. Defense is what defines this team, that’s how we need to play and that’s when we’re at our best.”

Miller followed up a 15-point, nine-rebound effort in Friday’s 59–56 victory over Fairfield.

“Everybody’s got all these good big men, and I’ve got one, too,” Monmouth coach King Rice said. “Nobody can guard him. They try to be physical and I can’t wait until those foul calls start happening for him and then he’s getting to the free-throw line, because Walker Miller is a real baller at both ends. He’s a problem for people to deal with.”

The Hawks have won back-to-back games and five of their last six. They are 15–7 and tied for third in the MAAC at 7–4. Monmouth has nine true road victories, tied with Navy for the most in the country.

Leading the MAAC is Iona, coached by Rick Pitino. In an ESPN.com article, Pitino praised Miller.

“He’s a great finesse big man,” Pitino said of Miller. “He’s got a very unorthodox jump hook. He’s a very good passer. He knows the game.”

Garrison Brooks tied his season-high with his third 18-point game of the season in Mississippi State’s 78–64 victory Tuesday over South Carolina, then put up his third double-double of the season in Saturday’s 63–55 loss at Arkansas with 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.

Brooks was the only Bulldog to shoot better than 50% from the floor in the Arkansas game as Mississippi State (14–8, 5–4 SEC) remains winless in true road games.

Although No.1 Auburn (22–1, 10–0 SEC) got a scare in Saturday’s 74–72 win at Georgia, the Tigers keep winning after also beating Alabama 100–81 on Tuesday.

Walker Kessler got his eighth double-double of the season against Alabama with 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks, then had 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks against Georgia.


Brandon Huffman’s Jacksonville State team (16–7) has the best record in the ASUN at 9–1 and the Gamecocks lead the West Division by two games at 9–1

Huffman had 19 points, six rebounds and two blocks in Jacksonville State’s first league loss on Tuesday, 88–76 against North Florida. He had seven points and four rebounds in Saturday’s 64–58 victory over Jacksonville.

In Morgan State’s only game last week, Seventh Woods had two points and four assists in a 97–82 Monday loss at Maryland Eastern Shore. The Bears are 7–11 overall and 2–4 in the MEAC.

Jeremiah Francis didn’t play in New Mexico’s only game last week, a 91–77 victory Saturday at Air Force.

How the seven former Tar Heels did

Garrison Brooks, Mississippi State center
78–64 Tuesday win vs. South Carolina —
Started; 30 minutes, 18 points, 8–14 FG, 2–4 FT, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 1 block, 1 steal, +19
63–55 Saturday loss at Arkansas — Started; 34 minutes, 12 points, 5–9 FG, 2–4 3FG, 0–2 FT, 11 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 blocks
Season statistics — 22 games, 22 starts, 11.4 points, 48.3 FG%, 34.7% 3FG%, 63.5% FT%, 6.6 rebounds; season totals of 15 assists, 16 blocks, 8 steals
Up next — 9 p.m. Wednesday vs. Tennessee, ESPN2;  8 p.m. Saturday at LSU, ESPN2
Jeremiah Francis, New Mexico guard
Saturday win at Air Force — Didn’t play
Season statistics —
8 games, 1.8 points, 40.0% FG, 2–6 3FG; season totals of 5 rebounds, 13 assists, 1 block
Up next — 9 p.m. Friday vs. Northern New Mexico, Mountain West Network; 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15 vs. Wyoming, Stadium
Brandon Huffman, Jacksonville State forward/center
88–76 Thursday loss vs. North Florida
— Started; 23 minutes, 19 points, 9–12 FG, 1–3 FT, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks
64–58 Saturday win vs. Jacksonville — Started; 18 minutes, 7 points, 3–4 FG, 1–1 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 3 blocks
Season statistics —
23 games, 22 starts, 10.0 points, 65.0 FG%, 57.6 FT%, 6.0 rebounds; season totals of 4 assists, 25 blocks and 8 steals
Up next — 6:30 Wednesday at Stetson, ESPN+; 5 p.m. Saturday vs. Central Arkansas, ESPN+
Walker Kessler, Auburn forward/center
100–81 Tuesday win vs. Alabama —
Started; 28 minutes, 14 points, 6–9 FG, 0–1 3FG, 2–2 FT, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 fouls, 4 turnovers, 8 blocks, 4 steals, +13
74–72 Saturday win at Georgia — Started; 29 minutes, 10 points, 5–7 FG, 0–1 3FG, 9 rebounds, 4 fouls, 1 turnover, 4 blocks, 2 steals
Season statistics —
23 games, 23 starts, 11.5 points, 63.3 FG%, 17.6% 3FG, 68.1 FT%, 7.9 rebounds; season totals of 19 assists, 97 blocks, 26 steals
Up next — 7 p.m. Tuesday at Arkansas, ESPN2; noon Saturday vs. Texas A&M, ESPN
Walker Miller, Monmouth forward
Friday win vs. Fairfield — Started; 35 minutes, 15 points, 6–10 FG, 1–3 3FG, 2–4 FT, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover
76–63 Sunday win at Quinnipiac — Started; 29 minutes, 22 points, 9–17 FG, 1–2 3FG, 3–5 FT, 6 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 steals
Season statistics —
22 games, 22 starts, 15.1 points, 48.6 FG%, 32.6 3FG%, 77.8 FT%, 6.4 rebounds; season totals of 25 assists, 20 blocks, 14 steals
Up next — 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Marist, ESPN+; 7 p.m. Friday at Manhattan
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
79–72 Monday loss at Maryland Eastern Shore —
Started; 11 minutes, 2 points, 1–2 FG, 0–1 FT, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 turnover
Season statistics — 12 games, 8 starts, 5.8 points, 46.6 FG%, 25.0 3FG%, 61.9% FT, 2.3 rebounds; season total of 36 assists, 6 steals, 2 blocks
Up next — 2 p.m. Saturday vs. N.C. Central; 7:30 p.m. Monday vs. South Carolina State


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