Second-half surge lifts Monmouth over Vikings

Lawrence's George Mavrakis (1) tied for team-high honors with 17 points against Monmouth.
Lawrence's George Mavrakis (1) tied for team-high honors with 17 points against Monmouth.

MONMOUTH, Ill. -- The Monmouth College men's basketball team pulled away early in the second half Saturday and went on to an 89-79 Midwest Conference victory over Lawrence University at Glennie Gymnasium.

Justin Aluya scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds to pace first-place Monmouth (16-7, 13-3 MWC).

George Mavrakis and Mason Materna tied for team-high honors for the Vikings (11-11, 7-9) with 17 points apiece. Jeremy Stephani added 11 points for Lawrence.

Mavrakis came off the bench and hit 5-of-7 shots from the floor and went 7-for-8 from the foul line in just 16 minutes. Materna, who pulled down six rebounds, hit a career-high four three-pointers and also recorded a career high in points.

Monmouth led by as many as 13 points late in the first half before a quick 6-1 outburst by the Vikings which included a jumper from Stephani and four straight points from Mavrakis. 

The Scots led 38-30 at the half, and Materna hit a jumper and followed with a three-pointer to open the second half and cut the margin to 38-35. Monmouth responded with eight consecutive points over the next two minutes to push the lead back to 46-35.

Mavrakis' layup ended the run for the Scots, but Monmouth then scored seven straight points for a 53-37 lead. Lawrence never got closer than the final margin of 10 points after that.