Down by seven at halftime, Monmouth-Roseville Titans stormed back and outscored the Illini West Chargers 26-12 in the second half to take Game 8 by a score of 43-36. In what can very easily be called a tale of two halves, the Titans mustered just 17 points in the opening half headlined by poor shooting, as evidenced by a 1-for-9 clip from beyond the 3-point arc. But their defense stepped up, forced turnovers, and held Illini West to just 5-for-18 (27.8%) shooting in the 3rd and 4th quarters. The 4th quarter was all Titans, as they took the frame 17-6. Points in the paint and points off of turnovers were nearly dead even, but Monmouth-Roseville did have a decisive advantage off of fast break points, 16-4. Illini West’s Colby Robertson fouled out with 3:12 left in the game, with the Chargers still ahead 34-32. The Titans would then score six straight points and never relinquished the lead.
Monmouth-Roseville had a balanced attack, getting 11 points (Ayden Almaguer), 10 points (Darrion Smith), 10 points (Tyler Finnicum), and nine points (Nico Avendano) from four players. Those four combined for all but three of their total points. Avendano finished with a team-high eight rebounds and a game-high three blocks. Smith also swiped three steals.
The Chargers were led in scoring by Colby Robertson and Haydon Rankin, who each had eight points. Wesley Robertson had a game-high nine rebounds in the losing effort. Ethan Carlisle led both teams with four steals.
Monmouth-Roseville squeaks into the second round and will be rewarded with a matchup with #1 seed Camp Point Central in Game 16, Friday night at 9:30pm. Illini West falls into the consolation bracket where they will meet up with Southeastern in Game 12, at 2:30pm Friday.