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Big Second Half Lifts Monroe Mustangs Men’s Basketball Past Covenant

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., February 8, 2020 – A pair of big second-half runs made the difference, as the Monroe College Mustangs men's basketball team picked up a 79-62 victory over Covenant College Prep Saturday afternoon at the Monroe Athletic Complex. The Mustangs improve to 17-9 overall with the win. The Mustangs got off to a strong start in Saturday's matchup, rolling to a 17-4 lead with 13:44 left in the first half. Monroe took a 24-8 lead after a three by Juan Felix Rodriguez, but the Mustangs went quiet for nearly nine minutes, allowing Covenant to cut the deficit to four before a jumper by Marcus Thompson gave Monroe a 26-20 edge with 1:06 left before halftime. Nendah Tarke made two free throws for Covenant, then Rodriguez hit a layup to make it a six-point game with 26 seconds left. Lionel Diarrassuba then closed out the half with a layup for Covenant to send the game to the break with Monroe up, 28-24. Rodriguez drained three long balls in the first half, finishing the first 20 minutes with 11 points and four assists. Zion Styles added five points, while Julio Pascual and Elijah Mitchell each scored four. The Mustangs took a 34-26 edge on Covenant early in the second half before the visitors went on a 15-0 run to claim a 41-34 advantage with 14:43 on the clock. The Mustangs responded with a 13-0 run of their own to go back on top, 47-41. After a three by Covenant, the Mustangs went on another big run, scoring 14 straight points to take a comfortable 61-44 lead with 7:14 to play. Scoring went back-and-forth down the stretch, with Covenant getting as close as 12 points, but the Mustangs were able to keep their rhythm to pick up the 17-point victory. Rodriguez led the Mustangs with 26 points and eight assists in the win, adding five rebounds as well. Styles finished with 22 points, five steals and four boards. Mitchell picked up 13 points with five assists. Jabari Merritt chipped in with seven points and a team-high eight rebounds. Marcus Thompson also added seven points and five boards. The Mustangs will look to make it three in a row with a big regional matchup on Thursday, Feb. 13, at the MAC, when they host Harcum College. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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