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Scots rally from the brink on Senior Day

February 22, 2013

Allyson Frazier / The Courier - MC guard Mike DeDecker scored a game-high 22 points in Saturday's win.

Fueled by a furious second half comeback, the Scots held off Lake Forest on Senior Day, 64-61. After crumbling multiple times down the stretch this season, the Scots showed resilience in the season’s final game.

An Andrew Mathison jumper five minutes in made it 11-8 Lake Forest, before the Foresters hit their next four shots, putting together a 9-0 spurt to lead by 12. Anemic shooting numbers spelled a 41-26 deficit for the home team at the break. Monmouth shot 35 percent from the field in the first half, including a 1-11 tally from beyond the arc.

“Eleven threes in the first half are just too many, that’s just not who we are,” said head coach Todd Skrivseth. “We were awful in the first half. It would have been disappointing for our seniors to end their careers on a game like that.”

When Lake Forest’s Brian Madson buried two threes in the early moments of the second half, Monmouth found themselves down 18 with prospects of a Senior Day victory grim at best. But instead of folding in the face of adversity, a young Scots team responded with resilience, piecing together a 27-9 blitz over the next 13 minutes. Fueled by seniors Mike DeDecker and Wes Dukeman, the Scots found some momentum, hitting ten of their next 15 shots, and suddenly the game was tied at 56.

“We switched to a zone, which caused Lake Forest some problems,” Skrivseth said. “We were able to string together some stops and get out in transition. We did a much better job attacking the paint.”

A youthful Scots squad which had squandered away leads late in games all season matured before a capacity crowd at Glennie Gymnasium.

Freshman Jon Calhoun’s three-pointer with 4:28 to go put Monmouth in front, 60-56. Up two with 1:20 to go, DeDecker found Ben Friday in the paint for an easy layup, making it 62-58 Scots. Lake Forest’s last gasp came by way of a Jordan Gipson three-ball with four seconds to go, but a pair of DeDecker free throws in the game’s waning seconds would seal a Fighting Scots Senior Day victory.

“It was nice to see our team make some improvements with the amount of young guys we are playing,” Skrivseth said.
This time experience and leadership brought the Scots back from a daunting second half deficit. During Monmouth’s stretch run DeDecker connected with Dukeman in transition three times in a 90 second span, turning the tide in the Scots’ favor. DeDecker led four Scots in double figures with 22 points and nine assists for the 22nd consecutive game.

Dukeman scored in double figures, ending his career with a 16 point, ten rebound effort. Lake Forest was paced by Brian Madson’s 14 points. Coach Skrivseth had positive remarks for his departing seniors.

“Wes had a really good year. I thought he came in a lot stronger, which allowed him to keep his position in the post,” Skrivseth said. “He averaged 14 points, eight rebounds which is really good in this league. To come back from last year’s surgery and do what he did is a testament to his work ethic. He’ll definitely be missed.”

Kyle McEwen
Sports Editor

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