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Friday, February 09, 2007

MU men's hoops Press story for Thursday

sorry this is so late..could not post it from Wagner...


By TONY GRAHAM

STAFF WRITER

NEW YORK - The Monmouth University men's basketball team, road kill for most of the season, Thursday night finally rose from the asphalt.

""It's going to be a great feeling,'' said Monmouth's Jhamar Youngblood of the impending bus ride back to campus.

For the first time in six Northeast Conference road games and for just the third time all season the Hawks won a game not played in Boylan Gym.

Led by 16 points and four rebounds by senior Marques Alston and 13 points and a career high 12 rebounds by Youngblood, the Hawks' mercurial freshman guard, Monmouth rallied in the second half for a 70-63 victory over Wagner before 1,356 at the Spiro Sports Center.

""Nobody will be sulking any more on the bus like we usually do,''s aid Youngblood. ""We can laugh and joke.

""We've just got to move on from this right now. We've got to start rolling because most likely in the (NEC) Tournament we're not going to have three home games so we're going to have to learn to win on the road somehow.''

Monmouth (11-13, 6-6) learned in Thursday's win over the Seahawks (9-14, 6-6) that nothing will turn a game around faster than a nice 24-5 seconds half run.

A 3 by senior Dejan Delic gave Monmouth the lead for good, 53-30, with with 6:42 showing. It was part of the burst that transformed a 47-39 deficit into a 63-52 Monmouth advantage when sophomore Mike Shipman (12 points, four rebounds) laid home a press-beating pass from Youngblood.

""Today he (Youngblood) wasn't saying much,''said Alston. 'He's usually talking,'' said Alston. """I didn't know if he was ready to play or not but he came out composed and he delivered.''

The win also ended Monmouth's regular season NEC road losing streak at eight with its last such triumph Feb. 6 of last season, also at Wagner.

It lifted Monmouth into a three-way tie for sixth place with Wagner and Robert Morris in the NEC standings where it holds the tiebreakers over over the Seahawks and Colonials.

""We were in the locker room at halftime tonight and the coaches said none of us were making plays,'' said Youngblood who snatched four of his rebounds off the offensive glass.

""I took that personal,'' he said. ""I made a couple of plays and then Whit (Whitney Coleman), and then Ship (Shipman), and then Deki (Delic) and Marques,'' said Youngblood.

A few strong power moves inside by 7-2 center John Bunch (nine points, five rebounds, six blocks) added to the second-half outbreak.

"'It was like a virus after that,'' said Youngblood. "'Everything got rolling and we got the win.'' ""They outplayed us down the stretch,''said Wagner coach Mike Deane. ""The last seven minutes, fifty seconds they made better decisions, they made the right play at the right time.

""Their size affected us but it was their guards who got four offensive rebounds, it was their guards who cut off their screens and got two easy baskets as a result of that.

"" And our shot selection left a lot to be desired.'' Sophomore Jamaal Smith (21 points) and Joey Mundweiler (20 points) topped Wagner which went 12-for-35 from deep. It went 0-for-7 from 3 during Monmouth's rally.

""I thought the biggest key for us was we didn't quit,'' said Monmouth coach Dave Calloway whose team, especially Bunch, was taking a healthy dose of taunting from the Wagner student section.

"'We were down and they were shooting the ball well from 3 and eventually they got cold,'' said Calloway.

""We didn't deviate from, "Keep going inside.' We got it into Marques and John and they delivered and then we hit a couple of key shots when we needed to and made a couple of key stops.

"'This was a much needed win.''

NOTES....Alston moved into No. 3 on Monmouth's Division I games played list with his 120th. Next is Jason Krayl (121) and Chris Kenny (124). ..Hawks are off until Monday night's 7:30 p.m. game vs. FDU at Boylan Gym that will be televised on MSG.

e-mail tonygsports@aol.com

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