HCC (7-1) led Monroe (5-3) 47-41 at halftime and outscored the Tribunes 28-19 in the first 11:42 of the second half to increase the advantage to 75-60 with 8:18 remaining.
After that, the Tribunes outscored the Hawks 25-9 over the next 6:41 to go out in front 85-84 with 1:37 left.
However, that lead turned out to be very brief for Monroe.
Alister Chisholm drove for a layup to give HCC the lead for good at 86-85 with 1:22 left in the game. Chisholm then scored off an offensive rebound with 54 seconds remaining to boost the Hawks’ lead to 88-85.
Chris Thompson made a layup for the Tribunes with 47 seconds to go to reduce the deficit to the final margin of 88-87.
Monroe had a final chance to win the game with 1.5 seconds left, but Andre Armstrong’s shot was off the mark as time expired.
“The big thing was that we got a big lead and, when they made their comeback at the end, we made the plays that we needed to make to pull out the win,” HCC coach Barry Brown said. “All 13 players that saw playing time today contributed. I thought today was a great overall team effort.”
Freshman forward Raymar Watson had 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists and six steals for HCC.
“Raymar Watson started his first game today, and he brought great energy to this team,” Brown said. “He set the tone.”
Antonio Jenifer had 17 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and three steals for the Hawks.
“Antonio Jenifer was a workhorse like he should be,” Brown said. “He played his typical game. He got banged around and he kept playing hard.”
Jaylin Sharp had 13 points, Malcolm Clark had 10 points and five steals, Jerel Carter had seven assists and Tione Womack had four steals for the Hawks.
“Jaylin Sharp played his best game of the season,” Brown said. “He scored 13 points off of the bench in only 16 minutes of playing time.”
The Hawks managed to overcome a dismal 1-for-15 shooting performance from behind the 3-point arc.
Mike Wilson had 22 points, eight rebounds and five steals to lead Monroe.
In the first game Sunday, the Monroe College Mustangs from the Bronx (N.Y.) made a dozen 3-pointers in an 85-61 vicory over the Allegany Trojans. Davon Marshall led the way with 14 points for Monroe (8-0).
Casey Roberts made all 11 of his free throws as he scored a game-high 19 points for Allegany (2-5).