NYU Bests Hunter 81-59 at Coles

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The New York University men's basketball team closed out its non-conference regular-season schedule on Monday night, January 12, defeating Hunter College 81-59 at the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center in Manhattan.
The Violets (9-3) earned the victory via a balanced scoring effort with four players in double figures, led by junior guard Hakeem Harris' career- and team-high 18 points. The 6-foot-1 transfer from Division I Seton Hall University was 4-of-6 from three-point range on Monday night. In addition, NYU shot well on the night (29-for-54, 53.7 percent) and held Hunter (6-8) to just 31.5 percent (17-of-54).
"Hakeem's a good shooter," said NYU Head Coach Joe Nesci. "He brings energy. He's a solid defender. He definitely gave us a big lift tonight."
Overall, NYU controlled the area beneath the baskets. The Violets outrebounded the Hawks 47-28 and held the visitors to just nine offensive rebounds. NYU also outscored Hunter 40-18 in points in the paint and 17-6 in second-chance points.
"Our energy level was a lot higher in the second half," continued Nesci. "In the first half, our energy was lacking. Fortunately, our rebounding was rock solid and that's why we were able to have any sort of lead in the first half."
The Violets started off the contest a bit slowly, shooting 40.7 percent from the floor in the first half and taking a slim 30-26 lead into the locker room.
"In the second half, our energy on offense was better," said Nesci. "We found guys in the post. We started finishing inside more and that led to some more openings on the perimeter and we started knocking down shots from outside."
Costis Gontikas had a dominant performance for NYU. The junior center finished with 16 points and a game-high-tying 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season and fourth of his career. Gontikas also had a block, a steal and an assist.
Patrick Burns had his best game of the season, chipping in a career-high-tying 14 points and a career-best 11 rebounds for his second-career double-double. The junior forward also registered one block, one steal and an assist in a season-high-tying 25 minutes.
Alec Papesch rounded out the Violets who scored in double figures. The sophomore big man fell one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds to go along with one block and a steal.
Max Ralby was 3-for-3 from the floor (2-for-2 from long range) to finish with eight points. He also tallied three assists, two rebounds and a block.
Ross Udine led all players with eight assists. The freshman point guard also chipped in six points.
- Overall, 15 Violets saw the floor on Monday. Freshman forward Landon Kupferberg made his collegiate debut, chipping in two points and a rebound in two minutes.
NYU will return to the court when it travels over the weekend for some University Athletic Association (UAA) action. The Violets begin with an 8:00 pm contest at Case Western Reserve University on Friday, January 16 in Cleveland, OH. They follow that up with a 12:00 pm match-up at Carnegie Mellon University on Sunday, January 18 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Live stats (CWRU | CMU) and live video (CWRU | CMU) will be available for both games.