WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Highlighted by junior Andrew Nicholas' (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) game-high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting, Monmouth University snapped its losing streak with a 75-50 victory over Niagara University in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action on Friday night, while holding the Purple Eagles to a season-low 50 points.
Nicholas, who was joined in double-figures by classmate Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson), who had 16 points and nine rebounds, connected on 4-of-5 from beyond the arc for the Hawks, who improve to 11-19 overall and 5-14 in the MAAC. Freshman Josh James (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) tallied six assists for the Hawks, while the frontcourt duo of Zac Tillman (Yeadon, Pa./Shipley School) and Chris Brady (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields) combined for 11 points, 10 rebounds and two assists.
The Hawks held Niagara 26 points below its season average, allowed just five field goals to the Purple Eagles in the second half, and limited the nation's second-leading scorer, Antoine Mason (25.7 ppg) to 15 points, with six turnovers.
"I am very proud of my kids, because they continue to believe in each other and work together," said head coach King Rice. "I thought tonight was one of our best offensive games in a long time, how we shared the ball, really moved without the ball, got the ball inside like we are supposed to do, and then made open shots. A great team effort from guys who stayed together to get it done."
Monmouth used an 8-0 run in the first half to go ahead 12-5 at 15:19 on a pair of Jones free throws, while a 7-0 spurt later in the stanza put the Hawks in front 32-18 with 7:06 showing after a Nicholas three-pointer and a Jones drive.
Collin Stewart (Glenville, N.Y./Mekeel Christian Academy) drilled a three-pointer with 6:23 on the clock to give MU a 35-20 advantage, while the Hawks held a 41-25 lead at the break, Monmouth's second-largest halftime lead of the season.
A 24-8 run to open the second half gave the Hawks a 65-33 lead with 8:04 left in the contest on a Tillman slam, Monmouth's largest lead of the contest, while Christian White's (Rochester, N.Y./Aquinas Institute) three-point play with 4:32 showing gave the Blue & White a 69-39 advantage.
Monmouth connected on 26-of-51 from the floor (51.0%) and 6-of-10 from three-point range, while holding the Purple Eagles to 13-of-42 (31.0%) overall and 1-of-13 from beyond the arc.
Monmouth returns to action on Sunday, March 2 when the Hawks travel to Albany, New York to face Siena in the MAAC regular season finale at the Times Union Center at 2:00 p.m.
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