WEST LONG BRANCH — Andrew Nicholas scored a career-high 28 points, and Monmouth scored 50 points in the first half for the first time in almost three years as the Hawks toppled Hofstra 91-62 in both team's season opener Friday night.

Nicholas backed the Hawks on a pair of scoring runs in the first half of the non-conference game, starting with five points during a 15-3 stretch at the game's onset. When Hofstra cut Monmouth's lead to 19-17, Nicholas responded with three consecutive 3-pointers and 11 points during a 19-3 scoring run.

Monmouth reached the half-century mark in the first half for the first time since a Dec. 12, 2009 matchup against Pennsylvania.

The Hawks recorded 17 steals, including four by Jesse Steele, and won the turnover battle 23-14. Steele, the team's leading scorer last year, had 10 points and six assists.

Stevie Mejia and Shaquille Stokes led Hofstra with 12 points each.