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Monmouth Opens Season With 88-84 Victory At Hofstra [AUDIO]

Monmouth mens basketball team before season opener with Hofstra
Monmouth mens basketball team before season opener with Hofstra (Monmouth Athletics)

Highlighted by five players in double-figures, including junior Deon Jones’ (Wimington, Del./Sanford School/Towson) team-high 22 points and nine rebounds, the Monmouth University men’s basketball team opened its 2013-14 campaign with a come-from-behind 88-84 victory over Hofstra in the Mack Sports Complex on Friday night.

Deon Jones
Deon Jones (Monmouth Athletics)

Joining Jones in double-digits were freshman Josh James (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepanic), who netted 19 points and six assists in his debut, junior Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York), who hit four three-pointers for 13 points, freshman Justin Robinson (Lake Katrine, N.Y./Kingston), who added 11 points and five assists in his first game, and junior Max DiLeo’s (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) 10 points and five rebounds.

“Believe. Compete. Succeed,” stated head coach King Rice, who guided the Hawks to their first season opening road win in Division I history. “I think our kids believed and they kept fighting. They stayed together even when we got down. Our young boys really stepped up at critical times tonight. Josh was getting to the rim, Justin was hitting jumpers and getting people the ball. I thought Deon was tremendous and I can not say enough about Max DiLeo’s defense.”

Monmouth, which trailed by 13 points, 49-36, just 1:45 into the second half, outscored Hofstra 28-14 over the next 10:51 of play to take a 64-63 lead on a Nicholas free throw with 7:24 left.

Riding an 18-5 run, Monmouth grabbed a 69-67 edge with 5:39 showing on a Jones’ free throw, before the Pride went on an 8-3 spurt to grab a 75-72 lead with 3:53 remaining.

The Hawks knotted the game on Nicholas’ fourth three-pointer, 75-75, with 3:28 on the clock, while a Robinson drive and trey put the Blue & White in front 80-75 with 2:06 left.

Monmouth, which outscored the Pride 14-3 during a late 3:10 stretch, built an 86-78 advantage with 18.7 seconds showing, following a pair of James’ foul shots.

Coach King Rice
Coach King Rice (Monmouth Athletics)

Monmouth, which hit 10 three-pointers in the game, and 48.6% from the field in the second half (17-35), connected on 42.3% (30-71) from the floor for the game, while adding 18 assists, and outrebounding Hofstra 48-40.

“Tonight was just an overall great game for Monmouth,” added Rice. “I am so proud of these guys. I have been saying this is a special group and tonight they really showed it.”

Hofstra put four players in double-digits, led by Zeke Upshaw’s 22 points and Chris Jenkins’ 17. Moussa Kone added a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards, while Dion Nesmith notched 10 points and five assists.

Sophomore Tyrone O’Garro (Newark, N.J./Saint Peter’s Prep) posted eight points and nine rebounds for the Hawks, while freshman Chris Brady (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields) added four points and four rebounds.

Monmouth, which last won its first road game of a season in 1987-88 at Coppin State, returns to action on Tuesday, when the Hawks host the University of Pennsylvania in the home opener in the MAC at 7:00 p.m.


GAME AUDIO

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Pre Game/1st Half

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Half Time

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2nd Half/Post Game

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