Salnave, Hammond help Monmouth weather Lehigh charge 66-62

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Ray Salnave scored 15 points and Deion Hammond added 14 as Monmouth held off a last-minute Lehigh surge for a 66-62 season-opening win on Tuesday night.

Salnave scored Monmouth’s last four points and Melik Martin deflected a last-second Lehigh 3-pointer as the Hawks held on.

Lehigh trailed by 16 early but steadily closed the gap. James Karnik scored 13 points, pulled down a career-high tying 13 boards along with three blocks for the Mountain Hawks.

A Karnik drive made it a one-point game with 4:16 left to play. Monmouth answered with a pair of Salnave free throws and a corner trey from George Papas.

Salnave converted a three-point play that pushed the lead back to nine with 2:25 remaining only to see Lehigh trim the lead back to 65-62 with under a minute to go. Salnave added a free throw with eight seconds left and Martin got enough of a slap on Marques Wilson’s 3-point try from the right corner that the ball fell well short of the basket and Sam Ibiezugbe wrapped it up as time expired.