NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Monmouth University freshmen centers Chris Brady (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields) and Zac Tillman (Yeadon, Pa./Shipley School) combined for 14 points, 18 rebounds and five assists, while juniors Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson) and Khalil Brown (Queens, N.Y./Westwind Academy) hit for double-figures each, but the Hawks fell at league-leading Iona College, 89-70 on Friday night in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action in the Hynes Center.
Iona, which has won nine straight to improve to 17-8 overall, holds a MAAC best 14-2 record, while Monmouth falls to 10-16 overall and 4-11 in league play.
Brady, who hauled in a career-best 12 rebounds, notched eight points, while Tillman added six points, six rebounds and four assists in the duo's combined start. Jones, who has tallied double-figures a team-high 21 times, hit 7-of-9 from the floor for 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Brown added 13 points off the bench, on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
"I take my hat off to Iona because they are a tough team to match up with," said head coach King Rice. "I thought our big kids did extremely well today. I thought Jalen Palm came in and did a lot of nice things today, as well as Khalil Brown. We are struggling right now, but we still believe in these kids. We just have to get over the hump one time and I think that will get us back going. There is still a lot of basketball to be played and we just have to get going the right way before the tournament."
Back-to-back baskets from Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) and a Jones lay-in had Monmouth in front 6-3 at 16:55, while a Brady free throw gave the Hawks a 7-6 edge with 16:23 left. Iona answered with a 19-6 run over 6:32 of action to grab a 25-13 lead on a Sean Armand three-pointer with 9:20 showing.
Consecutive trifectas from the Gaels put Iona in front 32-17 with 5:08 showing, before baskets from Brady and Jones clawed the Hawks within 32-21 with 4:19 on the clock.
Collin Stewart (Glenville, N.Y./Mekeel Christian Academy) drilled a three-pointer for the Hawks, their only of the first stanza, to pull the Blue & White within 36-24 with 2:40 remaining, but the Gaels held a 42-26 advantage at the intermission following a Grant Ellis fast break lay-in with 34 ticks on the board.
Monmouth capped an 8-1 spurt out of the locker room on Brady's offensive putback to pull within 43-34 with 17:34 left, but the Gaels responded with a 12-0 run in just over two minutes of play, to claim a 55-34 advantage with 14:40 left. Iona increased its lead to 61-36 with 13:05 showing as its run hit 18-2.
A three-pointer from Jalen Palm (Louisville, Kent./Butler Traditional) made the score 67-47 at the 8:00 mark, before Brown notched 11 straight points for the Hawks and a Jones three-point play at 4:13 had Monmouth within 76-61.
Tyrone O'Garro's (Newark, N.J./Saint Peter's Prep) tip in and a Josh James (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) drive in the final minute accounted for the final tally.
The Iona starting five all hit double-figures and accounted for 81 points and 19 assists, as Tre Bowman (23) and A.J. English (21 points, 13 assists) led the way for the Gaels, who hit 14 three-pointers, shot 46.7% (28-60) overall from the field and turned 21 MU turnovers into 27 points.
Monmouth, which had a season-high 19 assists, hit 50.8% (31-61) from the floor, and outrebounded Iona 44-25.
Monmouth returns to action on Sunday, February 16 when the Hawks host Marist College in a MAAC contest in the MAC at 2:00 p.m.
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