The most entertaining show in college basketball was at it again on Tuesday night — and delivered beyond our expectations once more.
Monmouth and its merry bench mob brought out some typical funny business in its team’s dominating 83-68 victory at Georgetown. Yes, you read right. Monmouth won again vs. a major-conference opponent. And won big. In doing so, the team’s bench won again, too.
Earlier in the day, Monmouth’s comedy troupe/bench mob did a terrific public service by releasing its how-to video for aspiring college pine-riders across the nation. (The video is awesome; do watch it.) They followed that up with some inspiring mime work in Washington, D.C. Behold!
It’s been a great game so far for @MonmouthBBall, which means an AMAZING night for @MonmouthBench! https://t.co/Uw7CqC7uGa
— FS1 (@FS1) December 16, 2015
The @MonmouthBench does the Sistine Chapel celebration pic.twitter.com/ITkPbGyik6
— FS1 (@FS1) December 16, 2015
So, yeah, the bench did its thing and that whole charade is nowhere even close to being old yet. Keep it coming, fellas.
But here’s the real story, the one you’re going to hear more and more about over the course of the next day. The Monmouth Hawks are now rightfully going to start earning as much pub and respect for their basketball acumen as they do for their bench’s cleverness. And they absolutely should.
We can keep our attention on the bench while shifting the conversation to the court.
The Hawks (7-3) went into Georgetown and dictated their way to a double-digit win. This was Monmouth’s most impressive victory, and maybe the biggest win in school history.
This program has reached NCAA Tournaments before but has its only win in the Big Dance via the 16 vs. 16 play-in game in Dayton, back in 2006. It has never won on the road against a team like Georgetown before. Tuesday’s smooth and commanding victory marked the first time in school history the Hawks took down a Big East program. It is now 1-30 all time against the conference.
“The last three games is starting to get a lot better,” Hawks coach King Rice said on Fox Sports 1 afterward. “I think we might have just caught them off guard a little bit.”
Every Hawks starter hit double figures. The Hawks have now downed UCLA, Notre Dame, Southern California and the Hoyas. They have two road victories against teams ranked in the top 50 of KenPom.com. Only one other school in the country can claim the same.
“This is new for all of us,” Rice said. “We haven’t experienced this before, but we want it to continue, and I know that way it continues is hard work.”
The irony is Monmouth makes it look so easy. Before the Georgetown game, you knew the Hawks’ bench would be amped to show off some of its new celebrations. But you don’t want to look bad in that; you want to do it while you’re keeping it competitive. More: You want to do it when you’re winning. And on a national stage, on a very slow night for the sport, Monmouth took everyone’s attention yet again.
Normally, small-conference schools only capture our imaginations in March. Monmouth is changing all of that by flipping the script — and the calendar — and forcing us to love and care and pay attention in November and December. It’s an incredible feat. And it’s coming from the opposite end of the bench on down. First we took note because those walk-ons were wacky and hilarious. Now we’re taking Monmouth seriously because the team has definitively proven it’s one of the 25 or so best in the country.
Yes, with a win at Rutgers on Sunday, Monmouth deserves to be ranked come next Monday’s national polls. Tuesday’s win proves it.
The talking point of late in college hoops has been about LSU’s stumbles, and how it would be a shame for the sport to not have arguably its best player, Ben Simmons, play in the NCAA Tournament.
Truth is, the greater crime would be if Monmouth can’t get there.