Xander Rice scored 20 of his career-high 30 points after halftime as visiting Monmouth pulled away for a 73-65 victory over West Virginia Friday night in Morgantown, W.Va.
The son of Monmouth coach King Rice, Xander Rice surpassed his previous career best of 25 set Feb. 23, 2022 for Bucknell against Army.
The graduate transfer guard made 8 of 16 shots and sank a career-high five 3s, including the go-ahead triple that gave the Hawks (1-1) the lead for good at 37-35 with 17:39 remaining. He also hit the clinching free throws with 41 seconds left for his final points.
Rice also made nine free throws, handed out six assists and contributed four rebounds.
Jack Collins added 12 of his 17 in the second half when Monmouth outscored West Virginia 41-32. Jakari Spence contributed seven points, four rebounds and four assists for the Hawks, who shot 45.5 percent and hit 10 3s en route to their second win in nine all-time meetings against current Big 12 schools.
Jesse Edwards scored 16 points for West Virginia (1-1), which struggled all night from the floor by shooting a dreadful 31.3 percent. Quinn Slazinski added 15, Kobe Johnson contributed 13 and Seth Wilson scored 10.
The Mountaineers also missed 25 of 32 3-point tries and 14 layups.
The Hawks took a 27-22 lead on three free throws by Rice with 4:56 and trailed 33-32 at halftime after Edwards hit a 15-footer with one second left.
Monmouth started the second half strong with a 12-5 run and opened a 44-38 lead on Nikita Konstantynovskyi’s putback with 15:41 left. The Hawks continued playing well and opened a 49-40 lead on a 3 by Collins with 13:57 to go.
Following a flagrant foul by Monmouth, the Mountaineers scored seven straight to make it a two-point game but Konstantynovskyi’s dunk and two free throws by Rice expanded the lead to 58-49 with 7:51 remaining.
Monmouth kept rolling and opened a 66-53 advantage when Rice sank a 3-pointer with 3:59 left.
–Field Level Media
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