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Friday, February 23, 2007

Defenseless..Hawks sent reeling towards playoff elimination

By TONY GRAHAM
STAFF WRITER

WEST LONG BRANCH - It happened in the blink of an eye.
Specifically it was dead-eye, three-point shooting in the last 6:30
by Sacred Heart University that stunned Monmouth Friday night, 82-75, before
2,110 disappoinated Senior Night fans at Boylan Gym.
""In a playoff (type) game we gave up 54 points in the second half,
that's what happened,'' said Dave Calloway, Monmouth coach.
As Monmouth (12-17, 7-10) lost control of a game it seemed to have in hand,
it also surrendered control of its own playoff destiny in
its bid to qualify for the 2007 Northeast Conference Tournament.
It will fail to make the eight-team field if it ends in a tie
with Long Island U. (10-17, 6-10) and is also passed by Wagner
(10-17, 7-9) each
of which have two NEC games remaining.
Monmouth could also miss out in the event of three-way tie with LIU and Wagner
depending on other tie-breakers.
The regular season ends Monday with Monmouth visiting St. Francis, Pa.
Wasted in a defeat that for most of Friday night seemed unlikely was career
high 31 points by rookie Jhamar Youngblood who also had
eight rebounds, and three steals.
""This was the story or our entire season,'' said Monmouth
senior Dejan Delic. ""We
played well for the most part and then we stopped playing defense.''
Coupled with Tuesday's 82-78 defeat at LIU, Monmouth has yielded more than 80
points in consecutive games for the first time since 1997-98.
It ended the regular season losing three games in a row at home for the first
time since 1998-99.

It all seemed impossible Friday as Monmouth,
in front by as many as 13 points with 8:10 left, was
still ahead
65-53 with 7:24 showing after two free throws by Corey Hallett.
Then the 3-point roof caved in.
Sacred Heart hit five consecutive 3's and Monmouth went without a field
goal in a 19-2 explosion that carried Sacred Heart to a 72-67 lea
d with 2:26 showing when Luke Granato
hit from deep.
Monmouth had a chance to draw even with 1:19 left but Delic (10
points), failed on a left corner 3.
""I had an open shot to tie the game, didn't make it,'' said Delic.
But by then the Monmouth defense was merely a rumor. Sacred Heart shot
8-for-12 from long range in the second half when freshman Chauncey Hardy
scored all of his 17 points including going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.
""We stopped talking (on defense), guys were going behind our back in the zone,''
said Delic. ""They get open shots because you don't get chance to react
because by the time you turn around the guy is open.
"If you communicate you get a chance to see him before he gets an open shot.
They got open shots, made them, got confident.''
"It was (Sacred Heart) guys that can't put the ball on the
floor (who made 3's),'' said
Calloway.
"'You've got to guard the ball, what do you want me to tell you? The guy is a 3-point shooter, you've got to get up and guard.
""And then they made their shots when they needed to down the stretch. And
we were still in the game and we didn't make shot.
"'We get the ball inside, we miss. We get the chance to tie it with a 3, we
miss.''
The eight-team NEC Tournament begins Thursday at
the four home courts of the highest seeds.
Over a week ago Delic guaranteed Monmouth would be playing.
"If I don't think
(Monmouth will qualify) we shouldn't go to Pennsylvania,'' Delic said
.

Friday Monmouth led at the half, 39-28, behind 14 mainly transition points y
Youngblood.
Delic chipped in with eight points and Marques Alston seven as
Monmouth shot 55 percent (15-for-
27) from the floor while SHU made 41 percent (11-for-27).
Monmouth took a 24-14 lead on a left wing 3 by Delic with 11:17 left.
It stretched the advantage to double figures when it knocked the ball away
from the Pioneers with five seconds showing.
Youngblood rocketed the length
of the floor, his layup rolled in at the buzzer, and Whitney Coleman shook his fists
with excitement.
But, when it all ended, the excitement belonged to Sacred Heart and
Monmouth's season was tetering on the brink.
e-mail tonygsports@aol.com.

1 Comments:

Blogger bob curran said...

Tony,
When your up by 12 with 7 minutes to go you have to defend the three.It was obvious SHU wasn't looking to score inside.Threes tend to ignite a team,which we saw last night.Jet was the only player who seemed to be composed when the press was on.The others seemed nervous.
As far as Dave and time outs.He did call one 2 min.into the second half,which was a great one.If you follow MU,Dave rarely calls TO to stop runs.He lets his team play through it.Do,I agree,no.....never have.I think the t.v. T.O's prob played a part.The difference between past teams and this team is,this team has proven to be fragile down the stretch,so maybe a T.O or two is what they need.

10:01 AM, February 24, 2007  

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