When the season began, Monmouth University men’s basketball head coach Dave Calloway knew his team would be a bit of a work in progress in the early going. His hope was that the pace of improvement would be quick enough to generate some excitement about the program as it looked to resume its place as a force within the Northeast Conference. Based on the Hawks’ last two games, that buzz may well be on its way, as MU has posted impressive back-to-back wins to improve to 5-9 overall, and seems poised to tackle the meat of its NEC schedule. On Dec. 23, Monmouth used a 17-1 run over the final 6:12 of the game to earn a 65- 51 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Thanks to a balanced attack that saw four Hawks score in double digits, Monmouth dominated the game late and gave a glimpse of a team that is beginning to find its rhythm. Justin Sofman led the way with 18 points (including a season-high five three-pointers), while Travis Taylor registered his fifth career double-double with 14 points and a careerbest tying 11 rebounds. Will Campbell added 13 points and six boards, while James Hett scored 10 points, dished out seven assists and grabbed three rebounds. The game was close through three quarters, but with just over six minutes to play, the Hawks took over to win their final nonconference game of the year. It was a confidence-building finish for the Hawks, who went 10-for-11 from the free throw line in the second half, and were 12-of- 14 for the game (85.7 percent). Monmouth then entered Saturday night’s game with Quinnipiac looking to build on the win, and did just that, beating the Bobcats, 72-60, in front of an enthusiastic crowd in West Long Branch. Freshman Ed Waite led the way for MU, scoring 17 points, while seniorWhitney Coleman added 16, as the Hawks evened their NEC record to 1-1 on the year. Now 4-2 at home on the year, Monmouth also got strong offensive efforts from Taylor (14 points, seven rebounds) and Campbell (14 points) to pull out an important win over a good Quinnipiac squad. Early on, the teams traded momentum, as QU jumped out to a 5-0 lead before MU got a Campbell trifecta and a Waite three-point play to grab a 6-5 lead. The teams continued to trade runs throughout the first half, with Monmouth clinging to a 31-27 lead at the break following a Coleman three-pointer with just two seconds to play. Once the second half began, Monmouth increased its lead to six before a Bobcat 9-1 run tied the score at 37-37. QU then took the lead, 41-38, before the Hawks scored six straight to grab a 44-41 edge with just over 13 minutes to play. QU then tied the score at 44 before the Hawks launched the run that would decide the game. Waite scored a pair of baskets to spark the run, with Coleman adding a pair of trifectas to open up a 57-48 lead with 6:45 to play. The Hawks’ run reached 17-4 (to the delight of the home crowd), and with 5:37 to play, MU was up 61-48 with the game well in hand. QU tried to respond with a run of its own, outscoring MU 6-1 over the next two minutes, but another Coleman three-pointer (his fourth of the game) shut the door and sealed the win for the Hawks. Down the stretch, MU once again was clutch from the free-throw line to maintain its lead and secure the important win. For the game, Monmouth outshot the Bobcats, 46.3 percent (25-54) to 40 percent (22-55) from the floor and 63.6 percent (14-22) to 54.5 percent (12-22) from the free-throw line. Both teams shot 36.4 percent from long range, with the Hawks making 8-of-22 to the Bobcats’ 4- of-11. Monmouth’s defense was the key in this one, as they held the conference’s secondleading scorer, James Feldeine (18.9 points per game) to just 12 points, and junior forward Justin Rutty (15.4 ppg, sixth in the NEC, and 10.4 rebounds per game, first in the NEC) to just four points and seven rebounds. Waite, a 6-5, 225-pound former football player, deserved much of the credit for the defensive work done on Rutty. The Monmouth pressure also caused the Bobcats to commit a season-high 23 turnovers, which the Hawks turned into a 28- 12 advantage in points off turnovers. Should the Hawks continue to play teamoriented basketball on both ends of the floor, they should play their way into contention in the NEC before long. Next up for Monmouth is a Thursday night match-up with Central Connecticut State in the MAC in West Long Branch. The Blue Devils fell to 4-7 overall on the season with a 70-53 defeat to Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon, and were scheduled to take on Colgate on Monday night. CCSU is led offensively by its backcourt, which consists of 6-3 sophomore guard Robby Ptacek (13.8 ppg) and 6-0 junior Shemik Thompson (12.3). Monmouth will need to neutralize those two if it hopes to win its second straight NEC affair and cement its status as one the rapidly improving teams in what is beginning to look like a wide open conference race. Tip-off is 7 p.m. today. BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer Back-to-back wins show team’s potential
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram BreastScreen Victoria and Cancer Council Victoria are working in partnership to offer free breast health information sessions in Greek. Women from culturally diverse backgrounds are less likely to have a breast screen compared to those born in Australia. With one in nine Australian women being affected by breast cancer, and women over 50 years of age are at the highest risk, it’s paramount that BreastScreen Victoria reaches out to the Greek community. BreastScreen Victoria Health Promotion Manager Nikki McGrath says the one hour information sessions are available for groups who wish to have a bilingual health educator discuss breast health awareness.“Educators will be available to visit your community group to talk about breast health in your own language,” said Mrs McGrath. The sessions have been specifically developed for community groups in the North West metropolitan Melbourne area. “Find out the latest information about breast cancer risk factors and early detection strategies including breast awareness and screening,” she said. Those who attend will receive resources in their own language and eligible women are encouraged to call 13 20 50 to make a booking for a mammogram with BreastScreen Victoria. “A breast screening mammogram once every two years will detect abnormalities and early detection gives the best chance of a positive outcome.”For further information contact Nikki McGrath, BreastScreen Victoria Health Promotion Manager on (03) 9660 6862, or Sharny Stevenson, BreastScreen Victoria Statewide Media Liaison Officer on (03) 8665 4183.