WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.
– Despite a career-high 24 points from senior Ed Waite
(Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Pine Crest) and senior Stephen Spinella
’s (Colts Neck, N.J./Apex Academy) first career double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, the Monmouth University men’s basketball team fell to LIU Brooklyn 80-66 in Northeast Conference action in the MAC on Thursday night.
The Hawks, who led 52-50 with 11:23 left in the game following a Tyrone O'Garro
(Newark, N.J./Saint Peter’s Prep) basket, fell victim to a decisive 19-2 Blackbird run, in the home defeat. Monmouth, now 9-17 overall and 4-9 in the NEC, hit 40.3% from the field (27-67), but just 2-of-19 from three-point range, including 0-for-12 in the second half.
Waite, who notched a career-best 24 points, his third straight double-digit effort for MU, connected on 11-of-19 from the floor, while adding eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Spinella notched both of MU’s treys in the game en route to 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, while Jesse Steele
(Milford, N.J./Oak Hill Academy) added eight points, a career-best six steals and five assists.
The Blackbirds notched the first seven points of the game before Spinella’s three-pointer from the wing got the Hawks on the board at 17:55. C.J. Garner, who scored six straight for LIU, gave the Blackbirds an 11-3 edge at 16:26, following his fast break basket.
LIU pushed its lead to nine points for a second time on Jamal Olaswere’s drive, 20-11, with 12:25 showing, but the Hawks answered with a 10-1 run, with all the points coming in the paint for MU, to knot the score at 21-21 on Waite’s tip-in with 8:57 showing.
Monmouth built its lead to 29-26 on Khalil Brown
’s (South Orange, N.J./Westwind Academy) jumper at 4:22, while Spinella’s second trey pushed the Hawks in front 34-29 with 3:14 remaining. The Blue and White, following O’Garro’s putback and Waite’s jumper in the lane, hauled in a 38-32 advantage, but Olasewere’s three-pointer as time expired made the tally 38-35 at the break.
The Hawks opened a 42-36 lead following Spinella and Waite hoops at 18:16, but the Blackbirds responded with a 10-2 streak to grab a 46-44 edge with 13:30 remaining. Waite’s three-point play halted the run and gave MU a 47-46 lead at 13:19, while O’Garro’s post-up put the Hawks in front 52-50 with 11:23 showing.
LIU (14-11, 9-4 NEC) answered with a 13-0 spurt as part of a 19-2 run over 6:31 of play to take a 69-54 lead with 4:35 left.
MU, which forced 25 LIU turnovers in the game, including seven by Jason Brickman, trimmed the deficit to 73-63 with 2:11 remaining on a Max DiLeo
(Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) baseline jumper.
LIU, which went 24-for-33 from the free throw line, including 21-of-28 in the second half, hit 51.0% from the field (25-49). The Blackbirds put three players in double-figures, led by Olasewere’s 23 points and eight rebounds, while Garner added 20 and E.J. Reed notched 11 points and eight boards.
Monmouth returns to action on Saturday, February 16, when the Hawks host St. Francis Brooklyn in Northeast Conference action in the MAC at 7:00 p.m.
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