WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. -- Andrew Nicholas scored a career-high 28 points, and Monmouth (N.J.) scored 50 points in the first half for the first time in almost three years as the Hawks toppled Hofstra 91-62 in both team's season opener Friday night.
Nicholas backed the Hawks on a pair of scoring runs in the first half of the nonconference game, starting with five points during a 15-3 stretch at the game's onset. When Hofstra cut Monmouth's lead to 19-17, Nicholas responded with three consecutive 3-pointers and 11 points during a 19-3 scoring run.
Monmouth reached the half-century mark in the first half for the first time since a Dec. 12, 2009 matchup against Pennsylvania.
The Hawks recorded 17 steals, including four by Jesse Steele, and won the turnover battle 23-14. Steele, the team's leading scorer last year, had 10 points and six assists.
Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, considered a lock to leave the program before struggling in the second half last season, has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return for his junior season.
Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku, who recently underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart rhythm issue detected during the combine, will keep his name in the NBA draft pool.
Andrew White III will return to the Nebraska men's basketball team next season after removing his name from the NBA draft.