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Scots fall to Central in first game under Skrivseth command

November 18, 2011


Kimarri Campbell/The Courier - Junior guard Michael DeDecker shoots the ball early in the game while avoiding a the Central defense. DeDecker, along with Kenny Foster, was among the leading scorers of the game. Foster scored a total of 19 points, while DeDecker scored a total of nine points.

The Todd Skrivseth era of Monmouth hoops began in earnest on Tuesday against the Dutch of Central College. With a revamped roster and more up-tempo style, the Scots have been the talk of the league.

Monmouth hoped to back the hype with 40 solid minutes against an experienced Central team, but ended up losing 70-56. Cold shooting put the Scots down 17 at the half.

Monmouth pulled to within 4 points after a David Altman free throw with 2:58 remaining in the first half, but Central guard KJ Cool answered with his second of four three-pointers, keying an 8-2 run. Skrivseth feels this was a key momentum swing in the ballgame.

“The last three minutes of the first half, we were down four, and they were able to stretch their lead to 10,” said Skrivseth. “They were always able to stop our momentum with a big shot.”

In the opening game of the Skrivseth era, the Scots found themselves trailing 29-19 at the half. Central’s momentum continued, as they began the second half on a 7-0 run on the heels of consistent outside shooting.

Guards Brock Caves and Cool connected from deep, extending the Dutch lead to 17 before three minutes had eclipsed in the second half of play. Central maintained a double digit advantage for the majority of the second half, until a Kendall Cox three pointer at the 12:16 mark put the Scots down nine, 42-33. Monmouth was able to close within seven twice in the second half after a pair of Eric Cogdill buckets near the 11 minute mark, but that was as close as the Scots would get on the evening. Skrivseth says Central’s experience put a stop to any potential Monmouth second half runs.

“Every time we were able to close the gap, they stepped up and hit a big shot to slow our momentum.”

Over the final 10 minutes, the game’s fate would be decided at the free throw line. Central connected on 13 of 15 free throws in the final ten minutes to seal the victory, 70-56. Although Monmouth failed to chalk up the victory, Coach Skrivseth was pleased with his team’s performance in the season opener.

“The players did a nice job sticking with our game plan in the second half and were much better offensively, shooting 50 percent from the floor,” said Skrivseth. “Defensively, we wanted to make sure we limited their All-Conference guard, Demarco Turner, and their All-Conference Post, Jack Bruns.  Mike DeDecker held Turner to ten points and our post did a nice job on Jack Bruns as he only scored four points. Overall, I was pleased with our defensive effort for this early in the season.”

Monmouth was led in scoring by a pair of junior guards, Michael DeDecker and Milwaukee Area Tech transfer, Kenny Foster. Foster chalked up 19 points and snagged nine rebounds for the Scots while DeDecker posted seven of his nine points in the second half. DeDecker is quick to credit Central’s physicality and the presence of All-Conference guard Demarco Turner in the loss.

“Central was a very physical team down low,” said Skrivseth. “Their big men did a good job in transition defense and offense, and they got good post position and were physical rebounders. I felt we did a good job playing defense on Turner, only allowing him to one field goal. The other eight of his ten points came from the free throw line in crunch time.”

Despite the loss, Coach Skrivseth was pleased with his team’s performance and sees significant signs of improvement. He also saw Central’s experience as key in the loss.

“I thought they did a nice job staying patient and working for good shots,” said Skrivseth. “They returned seven out of their top eight from last year and their experience showed. We just need to execute at a higher level and compete for a full 40 minutes. We’ve shown that we can perform at the level we need to be successful for stretches, but haven’t done it for a full 40 minutes. Our posts will fare well in conference play and I feel we’ll have match-ups on the perimeter we can take advantage of. We need to be one of the top rebounding teams in conference play.”

The Scots will next travel to Bloomington to face off against Illinois Wesleyan on Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Wesleyan is currently 1-0 after defeating Benedictine University, 90-77.

Kyle McEwen
Contributing Writer

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