BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. – Highlighted by four Hawks in double-figures, including a combined 39 points and 15 rebounds from classmates Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson) and Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York), coupled with freshman Justin Robinson's (Lake Katrine, N.Y./Kingston) 10 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals, the Monmouth University men's basketball team defeated St. Francis Brooklyn 73-58 in the Pope P.E. Center on Tuesday night.
Monmouth, which went 19-for-20 from the free throw line to improve to 4-6 overall, also got a career-high 14 points from junior Khalil Brown (Queens, N.Y./Westwind Academy), who connected on a career-best three three-pointers for the Hawks.
"I am extremely proud of my kids tonight," stated head coach King Rice. "It really came together for us in the first 20 minutes. I am excited for them because now they can see what we are capable of doing when we really share the ball and play unselfish basketball. Our defense was probably our best of the year and we went 19-of-20 from the free throw line, which means the guys relaxed and played."
After a pair of freshman Greg Noack (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) baskets put the Hawks in front 10-6 at 14:25, the Terriers answered with a 7-0 run to grab a 13-10 advantage on Sheldon Hagigal’s jumper.
Ignited by freshman Chris Brady’s (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfield) tip-in, and five straight points from Brown, the Hawks started a 14-0 spurt to haul in a 24-13 lead on two Noack free throws with 6:22 showing. The Hawks, who limited the Terriers to four field goals over the final 11 minutes of the stanza, increased their lead to 37-20 with 1:54 left on Brown’s tip-in. Monmouth, which ended the half on a 33-9 run, took a 43-22 lead at the break following back-to-back three-pointers from Brown.
Out of the lockerroom, Robinson drilled a three-pointer with one second on the shot clock off an inbounds play to push the Hawks' advantage to 46-22, but the Terriers responded with a 25-7 run over 8:27 to climb all the way within 53-47 with 9:43 left after five straight points from Hagigal.
Nicholas' wing jumper halted the SFBK stretch at 9:30, while his three-pointer at 8:34 claimed a 58-47 cushion for the Hawks.
Following a Kevin Douglas traditional three-point play at 7:19, which brought the Terriers within 58-50, MU put together a 9-0 spurt, started by a Robinson trifecta and six straight points from Jones to corral a 67-50 edge with 3:51 showing.
Monmouth finished the final two minutes with a Nicholas three-pointer from the corner at 1:51 and a Jones' three-point play with 59.7 seconds left.
Rice added, "Our kids really needed this tonight. They needed some success."
Monmouth, which went 8-of-16 from beyond the arc, hit a season-best 19-of-20 from the foul line, as at least three Hawks scored in double-figures for the sixth time this season. Jones, who registered 20 points (for the sixth time this year) added seven rebounds, while Nicholas contributed a career-best tying eight boards. Brown, who went 3-for-4 from three-point range and 5-for-7 from the floor overall, added four rebounds, while Robinson set season-best marks with his nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals.
St. Francis Brooklyn (5-5) was led by Hagigal's game-high 23 points, 15 of which came during the Terriers game-changing 25-7 second half run.
Monmouth, which had a season-best first half output of 43 points, outrebounded St. Francis 37-28 overall and had 14 assists on 23 field goals.
Monmouth returns to action on Saturday, December 14 when the Hawks host Binghamton University at 7:00 p.m. in the MAC.
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