ALBANY, N.Y. – Juniors Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) and Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson) each scored in double-figures, but Monmouth University dropped its regular season finale at Siena 70-54 at the Times Union Center on Sunday afternoon. Monmouth, 11-20 overall, got a game-high 18 points from Nicholas and a 14-point, seven-rebound effort from Jones.
"Today was a tough one for the Hawks," stated head coach King Rice, whose Monmouth squad, picked 11th in the MAAC preseason poll, finished 5-15 in the league to claim the No. 9 seed. "Siena jumped on us and just stayed on us the whole time. I am very excited about the tournament starting this week. We are going to have three good days of practice and try to get back on the winning track."
Siena raced out to a 13-4 lead before Nicholas' drive at 13:27 pulled Monmouth within 13-6, but four straight free throws from Brett Bisping gave the Saints a 19-6 advantage with 9:21 showing.
Trailing 21-8 with 8:15 left, the Hawks put together a 9-2 spurt, which included a Nicholas three-pointer and was capped by a Jones offensive rebound and short jumper, to get within 23-17 with 5:26 remaining. A Jones’ three-point play and Nicholas’ second trifecta pulled the Hawks within 29-23 with 2:28 on the clock, but the Saints ended the stanza with the last six points to hold a 35-23 advantage at the intermission.
The Saints strung together an 18-8 run out of the locker room to go in front 53-31 at 12:50 on an Evan Hymes' three-pointer, and built their advantage to as many as 62-38 with 7:38 left.
Monmouth connected on 32.8% (19-58) from the floor and 13-of-22 from the free throw line, while the Saints, the No. 5 seed in the upcoming postseason, hit 22-of-25 from the foul line and 42.6% (23-54) from the field.
Freshman Greg Noack (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) tied a season-high with eight points and four rebounds for the Hawks as the forward connected on 4-of-4 from the field.
Three Saints scored in double-digits, as Bisping led the way with 17 points (11-of-12 from the line) and seven rebounds.
As the #9 seed in this week’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, Monmouth returns to action on Thursday, March 6 when the Hawks face #8 seeded Rider University at 5:00 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.
2014 MAAC Men’s Basketball Championship seeds
7. Saint Peter’s
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