WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Freshman guard Josh James (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) led three Hawks in double-figures with 15 points, but Monmouth University dropped a 75-61 decision to preseason MAAC favorite Manhattan College on Wednesday night in the MAC. With the loss, Monmouth falls to 10-18 overall and 4-13 in the MAAC, while the Jaspers move to 20-6 overall and 13-4 in league play behind their sixth straight win and 12th road victory.
Joining James in double-digits were juniors Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson), who notched a near double-double of 14 points and nine rebounds and Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York), who added 11 points and four rebounds. James, who has three turnovers in his last 103 minutes of play at point for the Hawks, added five rebounds and two assists.
"I am very proud of our effort tonight. Our kids are fighting," said head coach King Rice. "I thought Josh had an outstanding game with the minutes he has been playing. I think Andrew and Deon have done a solid job trying to lead this young group. But I am very impressed with the two big young kids and the way they continue to get better every day. Tonight, we just ran into a bigger, stronger Manhattan team."
Manhattan raced out to a 14-4 lead at 15:55 behind four three-pointers, including a set from George Beamon, before consecutive trifectas from Nicholas brought the Hawks within 14-10 with 14:58 remaining.
After a Josh James drive got Monmouth within 19-14 at 12:23, the Jaspers responded with a 12-1 run over 3:28 of game action to grab a 31-15 advantage at 8:20, as Beamon connected on his sixth three-pointer for Manhattan.
The Hawks answered with an 11-1 streak, all of which came from Deon Jones and Zac Tillman, as the Blue & White climbed within 32-26 with 4:16 left in the half. Trailing 34-28 following a Khalil Brown (Queens, N.Y./Westwind Academy) jumper at 3:48, the Hawks were outscored 9-5 over the remainder of the stanza, as Manhattan took a 41-31 advantage into the locker room.
Monmouth trimmed the deficit to seven on two occasions out of the break on Jones three-point play and a James drive with 17:13 showing, but the Jaspers used an 18-4 run to go ahead 69-46 with 8:07 left.
Trailing by 23, the Hawks rattled off a 7-0 spurt, which was ignited by five points from Jones, and a 15-2 run to get within 71-61 with 3:00 left on another James drive, but the Blue & White went scoreless over the remainder of play and the Jaspers connected on four free throws to account for the 75-61 final.
Beamon, who went 6-for-8 from three-point range, hit for a game-high 31 points, while Rhamel Brown (eight rebounds) and Emmy Andujar added 12 points apiece for the Jaspers, who connected on 51.9% (28-54) from the field, and held a 34-32 edge in points in the paint.
Monmouth, which outrebounded Manhattan 42-38, hit 39.3% (22-56) from the floor, as freshman Tillman notched seven points, five rebounds and two assists, and sophomore Tyrone O'Garro (Newark, N.J./Saint Peter's Prep) tallied six points and six caroms.
Monmouth returns to action on Saturday, February 22 when the Hawks host in-state rival Saint Peter’s in MAAC action in the MAC at 7:00 p.m., and on ESPN3.
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