HAMDEN, Conn. – Monmouth University, which had four players score in double-figures, including junior Deon Jones' (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson) second career double-double, dropped a road Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference contest at Quinnipiac University, 70-61, on Thursday night at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Jones, who posted 16 points and a career-best tying 11 rebounds, added three assists and two steals, while classmate Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) netted 14 points, and the freshman duo of Zac Tillman (Yeadon, Pa./Shipley School) and Josh James (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) chipped in 11 points each for the Hawks.
"I thought our kids played extremely hard and we made big, big strides since the last time we saw this team," stated head coach King Rice. "We still have a long way to go, but I like the momentum of what we are doing in practice and what we are starting to see from these kids in the games. I'm loving this team and I can't wait until we get to play again on Sunday."
With the game tied at 47-47 with 10:08 left following Tillman's three-point play, Quinnipiac rattled off a 10-2 run to take a 57-49 lead with 5:18 showing on Zaid Hearst's three-pointer.
Trailing 59-51 with 5:18 showing, James netted six straight points for the Hawks, allowing MU to climb within 61-57 with 3:01 on the clock, but the Bobcats' Umar Shannon drilled a wing three-pointer to extend the QU advantage to 64-57 with 2:15 left.
Behind a 7-0 run, the Hawks took their first lead of the game and claimed a 9-5 advantage when Justin Robinson found Andrew Nicholas in transition for a wing three-pointer at 16:40.
Quinnipiac responded with an 11-0 spurt of its own to grab a 16-10 lead with 10:28, but Monmouth retaliated with a 17-0 streak in which the first seven points came from Deon Jones, while three straight possessions resulted in three-point trips for the Blue & White, as Josh James converted a three-point play and Nicholas drilled a corner trey. The MU spurt, which covered 4:17 of action, was capped by another Nicholas basket and a Robinson drive, giving the Hawks a 27-16 lead with 5:53 left.
The Hawks, who increased their run to 19-2, held a 29-18 lead with 4:30 remaining on Nicholas’ lay-up, but QU answered with an 11-0 spurt to knot the game at 29-29, before Zac Tillman’s slam with 12 seconds left gave the Blue & White a 31-29 edge at the half.
Monmouth connected on 38.3% (23-60) from the field and 12-of-21 from the free throw line, but went 0-of-7 from three-point range in the second half. The Bobcats, who generated their third lowest halftime score of the season, hit 54.2% (13-24) from the field in the second half, and turned 17 offensive rebounds into 23 second chance points.
Monmouth (8-10, 2-5 MAAC) returns to action on Sunday, January 19 when the Hawks host Canisius College in MAAC action in the MAC at 2:00 p.m.
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