Monmouth (3-1) exploded out of the gate in the second half to erase an eight-point deficit, built an 11-point lead, and held off No. 17-ranked Notre Dame, 70-68, in quarterfinal action of the Advocare Invitational at HP Field House in Orlando, Fla. Thanksgiving night.
Notre Dame (3-1) went on a 17-6 run to tie the game with 32 seconds remaining. But Justin Robinson, who scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, nailed a pair of free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining to break the tie and claim the victory.
Monmouth’s victory snapped a 0-23 all-time record versus AP top 25 teams. The Hawks won at UCLA nine days earlier.
All five Irish starters scored in double figures, led by Demetrius Jackson’s 20 points. His three-point play with 32 seconds remaining tied the game at 68, erasing the 11-point lead the Hawks had forged while out-scoring the Irish, 33-14.
On Monmouth’s game-winning possession, Jackson was assigned to Robinson, who had been fast-breaking and slicing through the Irish defense the entire second half. Robinson drew the shooting foul from Jackson and nailed both free throws to finish the night 14-of-15 from the line.
Going 10 deep, Monmouth’s bench out-scored Notre Dame’s, 19-0. The Irish struggled from the free-throw line, converting just 8-of-17 (47.1 percent), including several crucial misses during the late-second half comeback.
Steve Vasturia was an uncustomary 0-of-3 from the line while Zach Auguste, Bonzie Colson and Jackson were a combined 8-of-14 with two misses apiece.
The lead changed hands five times in the second half before the Hawks surged ahead, 51-47, on Collin Stewart’s three-pointer with 11:53 remaining. Notre Dame began its comeback on a free throw by Colson, a tip-in by Auguste, a three-pointer by Jackson and a backdoor cut by Jackson from Vasturia.
Notre Dame trailed by four less than five minutes into the game, but a 21-9 run – sparked by the three-point shooting of V.J. Beachem and Vasturia – propelled the Irish to a 35-26 lead and a 37-29 halftime lead.
Auguste’s finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds to record his third double-double in four games. Colson matched Auguste’s double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Beachem finished with 14 points and Vasturia had 12.
Micah Seaborn tossed in 15 points while Je’lon Hornbeak added 12 for the Hawks. Stewart (nine points) and Chris Brady (eight) sparked Monmouth off bench play.
Notre Dame had a 16-to-8 advantage on the offensive boards, but lost the turnover battle, 14-6. After converting 6-of-14 first-half three-pointers in the first half, the Irish made just 2-of-8 in the second half.
Notre Dame plays the loser of Thursday’s 9:00 p.m. ET game between Dayton and Iowa. Tip-off is slated for Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET.