WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) Justin Robinson scored 23 points and Monmouth, snubbed by the NCAA Tournament, opened the NIT with a 90-80 victory over Bucknell on Wednesday night.
Collin Stewart added 16 points and Deon Jones 15 for the No. 1-seeded Hawks, who hit 11 of 27 from the arc and will host George Washington on Monday.
Monmouth (28-7), the regular-season champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference that had victories over USC, Notre Dame and UCLA, was left out of the NCAAs after losing to Iona in the MAAC title game.
Monmouth led 36-30 at halftime on Wednesday before both teams got hot in the second half when both shot over 58 percent and combined for 104 points.
The Bison (17-14), regular-season champs in the Patriot League but a quarterfinal loser to eventual tournament champion Holy Cross, caught the Hawks at 52-all on Kimbal Mackenzie's 3-pointer. The Hawks responded with two Stewart 3-pointers and another by Robinson and led the rest of the way.
Seven straight points by Jones put Monmouth up by 12 with under a minute left.
Chris Haas led Bucknell with 18 points. Zach Thomas added 15, Mackenzie 13, and the Bison made 11 of 27 3-point attempts.