Having won their last three games, the Monmouth Hawks will enter Thursday’s game at Saint Peter’s with an 11-5 record in MAAC play and they trail Rider by a game in the race for second place. And King Rice’s team will welcome back its third-leading scorer for that game, as guard Andrew Nicholas has been medically cleared to return according to Joshua Newman of the Asbury Park Press.
Nicholas, who’s averaging 8.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, missed the last four games after suffering a concussion in the days leading up to the Hawks’ February 5 game against Quinnipiac.
“It was definitely frustrating because I’m on my last homestretch here,” Nicholas said Wednesday after practice. “It was fun to watch those guys, though. They won three out of four when I was out and they played really well. I’m excited to get back, jell with these guys again and if we can win these last four games, we can really get on a run going into the (MAAC) Tournament.”
With the MAAC having an 11-team field for its conference tournament, landing one of the top three seeds can be advantageous. In the quarterfinals those teams will face a team that played the day before, with seeds six through 11 having to play in the opening round.
The return of Nicholas helps Monmouth on the perimeter at both ends of the floor, as he’s one of the Hawks’ better three-point shooters and also a solid defender. Nicholas has made the second-most three-pointers on the team with 34 (Justin Robinson’s made 44 three-pointers), despite sitting out the last four games.