JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Juniors Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) and Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson) combined for 31 points and 16 rebounds, but the Monmouth University men's basketball team surrendered a 14-point halftime lead in a 61-50 loss at Saint Peter's University in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action on Sunday afternoon at the Yanitelli Center.
Monmouth, which held the Peacocks to a season-low 16 points at the break, was outscored 12-0 in the opening 4:20 of the second stanza and 45-20 in the second half in the road loss.
Nicholas notched a team-high 16 points for the Hawks to go along with seven rebounds, while Jones added 15 poitns and nine boards, but the duo combined to go 10-for-26 from the field. Freshman Chris Brady (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields) tallied four points and season-high tying seven rebounds for Monmouth, which hit just 29.5% (18-61) from the field.
Trailing 30-16 at the intermission, Saint Peter's knocked down four straight three-pointers to open the second half, to get within 30-28 at 15:40, before the Hawks built their lead back to 35-30 with 13:20 showing on a sophomore Tyrone O'Garro (Newark, N.J./Saint Peter's Prep) tip-in.
Following a Nicholas runner in the lane with 9:00 left, which put the Hawks in front 37-34, Tyler Gaskins hit SPU's fifth three of the half to tie the game at 37-37 with 8:33 remaining. The Peacocks then took their first lead, 39-37, since it was 12-11 (10:30 of the first half) on Marvin Dominique's jumper with 7:40 showing.
Freshman Josh James (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) tied the game at 39-39 on a jumper in the lane with 6:30 left, and the Hawks reclaimed a 45-43 lead on O’Garro’s lay-up with 4:25 on the clock.
The Peacocks retook the lead for good 23 seconds later on a Dominique three-pointer, as Saint Peter’s, which went 9-for-11 from the free throw line over the final four minutes, outscored Monmouth 18-5 in that stretch to seal the victory.
Despite early baskets from both freshman Zac Tillman (Yeadon, Pa./Shipley School) and Nicholas, Saint Peter’s grabbed a 10-4 advantage with 13:52 remaining on a pair of free throws from Quadir Welton. Monmouth answered with a 20-2 run, in which it held the Peacocks scoreless for 8:43 of action, to take a 24-12 lead with 3:40 remaining. The spurt, which included seven points from Jones, ended on a Marvin Dominique basket at 3:04 remaining.
Over the final 2:10, Nicholas dropped in a pair of baskets, while Jones’ offensive rebound and drive with 26 seconds showing gave MU a 30-16 advantage at the break, the Peacocks’ lowest opening half output of the year.
Dominique finished with a game-high 20 points and six rebounds for SPU (9-14, 5-9 MAAC), which hit six second half three-pointers and shot 41.2% (21-51) from the floor overall, to go along with 11 blocks.
Monmouth (10-15, 4-10 MAAC), which turned 19 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points, hit just 1-of-14 from three-point range.
Monmouth returns to action on Friday, February 14 when the Hawks travel to New Rochelle, N.Y. for a MAAC contest at Iona College at 7:00 p.m.
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