ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Ray Salnave scored 20 points and Monmouth beat Niagara 76-72 on Thursday night in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.

The game was tied at 69 with 2:30 to play. Salnave and Louie Pillari made consecutive jump shots, Salnave added a free throw and the Hawks led 74-69 with 1:07 remaining. Raheem Solomon's 3-pointer pulled Niagara to within 74-72. After Marcus McClary's free throw made it 75-72, Marvin Prochet missed a potential tying 3-pointer with three seconds left.

Pillari finished with 15 points and Diago Quinn added 14 for sixth-seeded Monmouth (12-20), which plays third-seeded Quinnipiac in a quarterfinal on Saturday.

Solomon made five 3-pointers and scored 24 points to lead No. 11 seed Niagara (13-19). Deion Hammond had 15 points and Prochet chipped in 11 points and 12 rebounds.