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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Press story for Friday on MU men vs. Sacred Heart

By TONY GRAHAM
STAFF WRITER

You could call them Marques Moments.


Those would be Boylan Gym highlights over the last four years by Monmouth University senior forward Marques Alston.

And it would not be overtstating the situation to say that in Friday's Senior Night Northeast Conference game when Monmouth (12-16, 7-9) hosts Sacred Heart (14-13, 10-6), the Hawks could probably use another one.

While senior nights are usually celebratory occasions, for Monmouth this appears more like one of desperation.

""I never thought we'd be in the position we are right now,'' said Alston, a former Neptune High School standout.

That position is one in which Monmouth's defending NEC Tournament champions are clinging to the eighth and final NEC Tournament playoff berth with one more regular season game remaining Monday night at St. Francis, Pa. (5-21, 2-13).

Alston's home floor moments to remember have included his sophomore year heroics when his rebound basket at the buzzer defeated St. Peter's and his driving layup in the final seconds lifted Monmouth to an NEC Tournament playoff victory over Central Connecticut State.

He is one of four seniors along with Dejan Delic, John Bunch, and Corey Hallett whose careers are bordering on the brink of premature conclusions.
Alston and Delic are 1,000 career point scorers and Alston Friday will add two entries to Monmouth's record books. He will supplant assistant coach Chris Kenny for most games played for Monmouth (125) and will tie the legendary Alex Blackwell for 13th place for most starts with his 84th.

While Friday's outcome won't guarantee Monmouth post season qualification or elimination, a defeat would mean it would lose control of its destiny in a three-way battle for the last spot with Wagner and Long Island U.

""We are in this situation and we can't sit back and sulk about it,'' said Alston. ""We don't have any time. We've got to do whatever we've got to do to prepare to win that (Friday) game, then go out and win at Sr. Francis to try and get at least this last playoff spot.''

Delic, who last Friday guaranteed Monmouth will play in the NEC Tournament, was not backing down Thursday. ""If I don't have confidence I shouldn't be playing basketball,'' he said. "I'm confident, I always was. So I'm still sticking to my guarantee.

""The Lord works in mysterious ways,'' he said.

Delic said it still hasn't hit him that this appears to be his final game in Boylan Gym. Even if Monmouth makes the NECs it is not likely to host a game.
""It's going to hit me after the game'' he said. ""Hopefully after a good win. I feel we had a great practice today.''


Three of the seniors have been part of teams that have won or shared two NEC regular season championships and gone to two NCAA Tounaments with Bunch joining the fray for last year's NCAA run.

""We've had six straight winning seasons prior to this season and these seniors were part of half of that,'' said Dave Calloway, Monmouth coach. ""Unfortunately it hasn't happened this year. Maybe the saving grace will be to at least get a victory on Senior Night.''

""Four years went by too fast,'' said Alston. "Now it's hard to believe Friday could be my last game in this gym.''


The Pioneers, in their eighth NEC season, have never ended higher than last year's seventh place finish. Their 74-57 victory over the Hawks Jan. 11 in Fairfield, Conn. triggered a four-game losing streak that began Monmouth's plummet in the standings.


e-mail tonygsports@aol.com.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony,

Is it possible to see these rankings that MU always talks about? Most games played, highest all-time scorer, rebounder, etc. That would be really interesting to see and reminisce about.

Also, I thought Corey was a red-shirt his freshmen year and was coming back next year? Am I mistaken?

Senior nights are always bittersweet. Having gone to school with some of these guys, it's sad to see them go. I think last year was one of the hardest to know that Tyler and Chris were leaving. It's quite obvious that no one filled their shoes this year, but we will bounce back. Whitney and Jamaar are going to take this team to new heights!

10:54 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Most all the MU rankings, etc. are in their media guide..they should sell them!....

Corey spent his first year at Central Mich...played behind that guy (forget his name) that's in the NBA..then Corey transferred to MU..sat out..and played the last three years..this is it for him...

11:01 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Forgot to mention...Corey (ill) did not practice today..but should be Ok for Friday....Jhamar, Coleman, Bunch, all practiced....Adam Dobriansky (sore knees I think) sat out..he's Ok though..

11:03 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Re: rankings, games played, career points, etc. etc., usually also listed on the MU game notes which are on line for every game...

11:05 PM, February 22, 2007  
Anonymous mu mystery coach said...

Chris Kaman a.k.a Hulk Hogan JR/The Kamaniac was the guy Corey played behind.

11:11 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Right..Chris Kaman...Corey couldn't start over him??

11:12 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger bob curran said...

Tony,
It's always sad when the seniors play their last home game.Its even tougher when its four of them.I'm really going to miss these guys.IT's been a great 4 years....thanks for the memories.

11:44 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Senior nights are always emotional...


The years go by sooo quickly....

Corey hasn't put up the numbers many thought he would, but his enthusiasm and energy have always been outstanding ....


I can remember..in Deki's freshman year..here was this kid in Sept-Oct in the gym who they hadn't even put out a release on saying the signed him...swishing 3's from all over the place.....


I can recall going waaaaaay back.. the anticipation of Al Blackwell's first year at Monmouth ...Al getting a standing ovation on Senior Night before MU played Marist....and me thinking..."There'll never be another like him here again" ..and there hasn't been ..

John Giraldo in Boylan Gym after they signed him..wanting to practice with MU while he was still in high school.....

The first time I saw Rahsaan Johnson playing in Boylan Gym in his first year at MU...he was unleashing jaw-dropping moves to the hoop and I remember thinking... "My God, this guy is really good"!



Kevin Owens visiting an MU practice and MU assistant coach Dave Calloway all nervous that Owens was going to sign with Drexel......




and me.. telling MU assistant coach Ken Dempsey about Corey Albano who was at an MU practice .."Demps - I think he's going to sign with Rider."

Good thing for MU I had that one wrong.

12:26 AM, February 23, 2007  
Anonymous jk fan said...

This blog serves several purposes, but having Tony reminisce and share his memories of the many NEC stars that MU was so fortunate to have been home to makes this a must-read. Thanks Tony. I would love to hear from Jason Krayl, and get his take on what is likely going through the minds of his former teammates (seniors) on a day/night like today.

7:27 AM, February 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Del Tufo reached 1000 pts. last night

9:20 AM, February 23, 2007  

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