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Drexel looms for 1-14 Hawks

After Monmouth retreated to the locker room long before the opening tip a OceanFirst Bank Center Thursday night, a group of players in street clothes remained on the court shooting baskets, including 6-9 Jarvis Vaughan, out since the preseason with a knee injury, 6-10 Tadhg Crowley, sidelined by a preseason concussion, and 6-9 Jaret Valencia.

Could they have made a difference for Monmouth this season?

We’ll never know. But what’s becoming clear at the midway point of the college basketball season is that Monmouth is among, if not the worst Division I team in the country right now.

At 1-14 heading into Saturday’s Colonial Athletic Association game at Drexel (2 p.m.; FloSports.com) in Philadelphia, it’s a precipitous fall-from-grace for a program coming off a 21-win season in which it lost the MAAC title to a Saint Peter’s team that went to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, after getting a share of the regular season title a year earlier.

Monmouth is ranked 359 out of 363 teams in the NCAA’s NET rankings, and 354 out of 360 teams by KenPom. But no team is below Monmouth in both rankings, with 1-15 Mississippi Valley State, winless against Division I teams, moving ahead of them in the NET Friday.

The Monmouth men's basketball team heads to Drexel for Saturday's game with a 1-14 record after Thursday's 67-56 loss to Stony Brook.

There’s no relief in sight as the Hawks head into a brutal four-game stretch that begins with three tough road games, before hosting No. 23 Charleston on Jan. 19.

How did the Hawks arrive at this point?

1. Lack of experience

After losing seven seniors, including all five starters, four of whom were fifth-year seniors, the leadership void was massive. And Monmouth coach King Rice’s inability to land an experienced player who’s been in these situations via the transfer portal has played a major role.

Drexel freshman guard Justin Moore is surrounded by juniors and seniors, three of whom were starters last season. Monmouth starts two freshmen in guards Jack Collins and Andrew Ball, and sophomore guard Tahron Allen.

2. Not enough scoring

The biggest question coming into the season was where the points would come from as the roster was constructed, having failed to secure a proven scorer. And the lack of offensive firepower has been the most pressing issue so far.


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