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Monday, February 05, 2007

Did this really happen?/Press MU men's hoops story for Tuesday

By TONY GRAHAM
STAFF WRITER

HACKENSACK - Marques Alston of the Monmouth University men's basketball
team was stationed under the basket waiting for a game-ending rebound.
It never came.
Instead all Alston and the Hawks could do was watch a baseline jump shot by
Manny Ubilla of Fairleigh Dickinson hit nothing but net as the buzzer
sounded dealing the Hawks a deflating 64-63 defeat in a Northeast Conferce
game at the Rothman Center.
The basket marked the only points of the game for a Ubilla, a former
Freehold Township High School star, and wiped out all of what had been an 18-point
Monmouth lead in the second half.
""I was hoping it would bounce off the rim,''said Alston. ""I could have
caught the ball. It went through and I just started walking away.
" "It was like I couldn't believe it,'' said Alston.
But what Monmouth (10-13, 5-6) can believe after the loss to the Knights
(12-10, 7-4) and the end of a three-game winning streak is that it remains winless on the road in the league.
As a result it also remained mired in the second division of the NEC after
blowing an opportunity to pull within one game in the loss column of second
place.
Alston had given Monmouth a one-point advantage when a sank
the front end of one-and one with 6.5 seconds showing but the senior, a 70 percent foul
shooter for the next-to-worst shooting free throw shooting team in the NEC (63
percent) missed the second.
""That's (foul shooting) killing us, especially in close games,''said
Alston. '' ""Coach (Dave Calloway) said it would catch up to us and it kind of
caught up to us today.''
FDU point guard Cameron Tyler whisked the missed free throw attempt
down the floor
and it
ended in the hands of Ubilla, who had moments earlier replaced former CBA player Eric
Hazard who had fouled out.
" 'We drew up a play expecting him (Alston) to make both free throws,'' said Ubilla.
""I saw it come off the rim, we got it to Cam (Tyler), he drew two people, and
he got it to me.
""I was thinking of pulling up for a 3, but I saw we still had about four
seconds left so I took the easiest shot possible.''
It went up and in over 7-2 Monmouth center John Bunch (14 points, nine
rebounds) who couldn't quite
get close enough for a piece of what would have been his fourth block of the
night.
Hazard was instrumental in leading the FDU comeback scoring all 14 of his
points in the second half when he made four of six from three-point range.
""He's usually always hitting big time shots off the bench,
Eric is a great shooter,'' said Ubilla. ""He gave us a great lift in the
second half, we were riding him the whole way.''
The ending was difficult to swallow for Monmouth which had won the NEC
championship on the same floor last season on a last second layup by now
assistant coach Chris Kenny.
It marked Monmouth's first defeat the buzzer since Princeton's Ed Persia's
three-quarter court heave in the 2002-2003 season at Boylan Gym.
""To win on the road you need to take care of the ball, you need to make
foul shots, and you need to play defense and you need to rebound,'' said
Calloway. ""Everyone of those things down the stretch we did not do.
""We just made very, very poor decisions, it was a shame. We played well.
But well is not good enough to win games on the road. You need to play very,
very good for 40 minutes.
""We didn't do it so we came up short. Thank God it wasn't the last game of
the year. How would you feel if it was the last game of the year? Maybe we
learned from it.''
In the last five minutes Monmouth coughed up four turnovers and missed four foul shots.
""We go up 17-18 points at their place, things are going
our way,
then they
started putting a little pressure on us and we didn't handle it,'' said
Alston.
NOTES...Monmouth concludes its two-game road trip 7 p.m. Thursday at
Wagner and is off after that until hosting FDU 7:30 p.m. Monday in a game
that, like Monday night, will be televised on MSG.

e-mail tonygsports@aol.com.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ubilla went to Manalapan actually. This is a tough one, you see it happen a lot though, a team builds a big lead and then starts to play passive, then when the opponent goes on a run they panic (or just can't execute) and the game slips away. Hopefully we'll get some revenge on Monday.

10:59 PM, February 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I won't name names, however I will tell you this Tony - you may or may not agree but it is not the time for the guys to play selfish. Holding onto the ball just for the sake of someone else not making the play is garbarge. All that I can say is - if you're teammate is open right in front of your face not once but 4 times - give up the
"*^$%##@&**^^" ball

11:12 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Ubilla played for Freehold far as I know and remember ..he was also our APP Local College Plyer of the Week earlier this year and no one corrected it ... and it says so (Freehold) on the FDU web site...

On the second comment..to be honest, I'm not sure what youre talking about specifically though MU did make a number of bad decisions....I would have to doubt if they were on purpose ..you want to say what plays they were tell us...it's OK.

1:38 AM, February 06, 2007  
Blogger bob curran said...

For 33 minutes we played maybe our best game of the year.Hallet played his best game ever!We were up 12 pts with seven min.to go,then the wheels came off.It reminded me of football and the much loved prevent defense.How many times did we have numbers and either pulled it back out or turned it over?If a team is going to press and take chances,you MUST make them pay and attack the basket!On the defensive end,not accounting for Hazard is just unacceptable.His threes sparked the comeback.
On a positive note...for 33 minutes i saw the best NEC team and that gives me hope.

10:32 AM, February 06, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Yes..MU did look very good until the collapse..but championship teams close out games.

As we know usually in hoops and athletics overall - trends establish themselves during a season and the trends of this team include.....

1. Road misery and MU may not even get a home game in the NECs ..though at least that's still a possibility..

2. The inability to close out teams after building a lead....

3. Failure at the foul line.

Yes, fans, they do work on foul shots in practice. Deki even stays after to work his foul shots and his 3's.....

and MU practiced specifcally the day before the game on how to beat the press...

Funny thing is..in a wide open game like that when the oither team is pressing Rickie Crews is a teriffic finisher (just an idle wayward thought).

But..no..I am not suggesting he be in there at this stage of his career with the game on the line....


If Bunch continues to play this way MU does have a chance to beat anybody.

10:47 AM, February 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey genius Ubilla played for Freehold Twp, not Manalpan, nice try though.

11:21 AM, February 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My bad, I got him confused with Ibraham. Sorry Tony

1:45 PM, February 06, 2007  

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