NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY – The Monmouth University men’s basketball team never trailed and led by double-digits for the final 25:08 as they beat Niagara 56-42 on Sunday afternoon to pick up their first league win of the season. Monmouth improves to 5-3 and 1-1 in conference, while Niagara drops to 3-6, 1-1 in the MAAC.

“Tonight, we made a couple more plays than them,” said head coach King Rice. “Our defense was very good. We really have great leadership on our team.”

MU’s lead went as high as 16 in the second half, doing so three times. Deon Jones (Wilmington, DE/Sanford School [Towson]) knocked in a three before Diago Quinn (New York City, NY/Lake Forest Academy [IL]), who made his first start as a Hawk, muscled inside to finish and make the score 43-27 Monmouth with 11:25 to play. Jones pushed the Monmouth lead to 16 again with 9:31 to play in the game on a drive to the rim.

Monmouth came out of the half and got five points from Micah Seaborn (Fort Worth, TX/Prime Prep Academy) in the first two minutes, including a finger roll inside and a three right of the circle to bump the lead to 32-19. The margin remained between 11 and 14 for the next four minutes ahead of Jones’ and Quinn’s baskets. Monmouth held the lead above double-figures, knocking down seven-of eight free throws in the final six minutes to seal the victory. Justin Robinson (Lake Katrine, NY/Kingston) zig-zagged inside and got a goaltending call against Niagara to make it 54-40 with 1:43 left, and Emile Blackman scored for Niagara with 32 seconds to go to make the score 56-42, the eventual final.

Quinn used strong footwork to build upon Monmouth’s lead, pushing it to 11 with 7:59 to go in the first. The Purple Eagles cut it to single digits on a jumper from Justin Satchell at the 5:34 mark, but Jones’ jumper made it 11 and signified the last time all afternoon Niagara would be within nine.

Monmouth jumped out to an 8-0 lead quickly, getting a Robinson scoop and a Seaborn 20-footer ahead of fast-break baskets from Je’lon Hornbeak (Arlington, TX/Grace Prep [Oklahoma]) on the move and Jones on a long two. MU led 14-3 after a strong take and two-handed slam from Collin Stewart (Glenville, NY/Mekeel Christian Academy).

Seaborn led Monmouth with 13 points, his seventh game of the season in double-figures. Jones added 11 points and six caroms, and Robinson netted eight. Blackman was the only Purple Eagle into double-figures with 14, and Matt Scott added eight points but turned it over nine times. MU outshot Niagara 39.6% to 30.9%, and the Hawks were 93.8% from the free throw line, missing just one foul shot. The Hawks held the home team to just 15 first half points, the least allowed by MU in a half since Canisius scored just 16 in a 44-40 Monmouth win at The MAC last February.

The Blue and White return to West Long Branch, NJ next Sunday, December 13 for the home opener against Wagner. Tip is set for 2:00 p.m. on ESPN3.