WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Monmouth University freshman Josh James (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) scored a game-high 18 points, to go along with four rebounds, four assists and three steals, but the Hawks fell to visiting Saint Peter's University 61-51 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action on Saturday night.
Monmouth, which was held to its two lowest points totals of the season in the two games with Saint Peter's, connected on 37.3% (19-51) from the floor and just 3-of-13 from three-point range, while falling to 10-19 overall and 4-14 in the MAAC.
James, who has 12 double-digit scoring games on his rookie campaign, hit 6-of-12 from the floor for 18 points - one off his career-high - in 38 minutes of play. Junior Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) added 10 points, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals, while junior Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson) notched six points and six caroms.
"Tough one for us tonight, but I was very proud of the kids for trying so hard," said head coach King Rice. "Give a lot of credit to Saint Peter's because they make you play their style by slowing you down on the defensive end, but also playing slow on the offensive end, which makes you play a lot of defense. I feel bad for our kids because we are fighting tremendously hard and just haven't been able to get over the top. But I truly believe we are getting better daily and we will get over the top."
Monmouth jumped out to a 9-2 lead with 15:12 left in the half, following seven straight points for the Hawks, as junior Khalil Brown’s (Queens, N.Y./Westwind Academy) jumper pushed the Hawks in front by seven. The Peacocks answered with a 12-2 spurt over five minutes of action to claim a 14-11 advantage on Jamel Fields’ three-pointer with 8:37 left.
Monmouth, which went 7:05 in-between field goals, climbed within 19-16 on a James drive with 4:08 showing, but Saint Peter’s responded with an 8-2 streak to grab a 27-18 lead with 1:57 remaining. A second James three-point play and Brown’s put-back pulled the Hawks within 27-23 with 35 seconds showing, but Marvin Dominique’s three-pointer as time expired put the Peacocks ahead 30-23 at the break.
Five quick points out of the intermission put SPU in front by 12, 35-23, its largest lead of the game, before three-pointers from Nicholas and Jones and a freshman Chris Brady (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields) jumper brought the Hawks within 37-31 with 11:52 showing.
Saint Peter's, which hit just one field goal in the final five minutes of action, connected on 12 free throws in the last 4:43 to hold on for the 10-point victory.
Saint Peter's (11-16, 7-11 MAAC), which connected on seven three-pointers, hit 37.2% (16-43) from the floor and went 22-of-32 from the free throw line, 14-of-21 which came in the second half. The Peacocks put three in double-figures, as Burke (16 points, six rebounds), Desi Washington (14 points, five rebounds) and Dominique (12 points, nine boards) accomplished the feat.
Monmouth returns to action on Friday, February 28 when the Hawks host Niagara University in MAAC action in the MAC at 7:00 p.m.
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