Sunday, November 11, 2012

Monmouth 91, Hofstra 62 (Or: Dark side’s calling)

New season, new recap theme!

Trying something new (and old) here with five-ish post-game thoughts. How long will it last? Who knows? Enjoy!

1.) Given all that’s gone on during the preseason for the Dutchmen, and the inexperience on the roster, a loss to Monmouth was not surprising. But the gains the Dutchmen made in shaving a 19-point halftime deficit to 12 disappeared over the final 8:40, when Monmouth outscored Hofstra 27-10. The 29-point loss was the Dutchmen’s worst season-opening loss to a non-power conference foe since the 1972-73 team fell to Temple, 80-48. In other words: Oof.

2.) As evidenced by the margin of defeat, this was a thorough loss for the Dutchmen, who shot just 29 percent from the field and missed more shots in 65 attempts (46) than Monmouth did in 72 attempts (36). Gulp. The Dutchmen also turned the ball over 23 times, their most since Jan. 5, 2009 against Northeastern. Stevie Mejia had a particularly rough game as he committed a career-high eight turnovers and was 2-of-10 from the field. Mo Cassara and Co. need a lot better out of Mejia, who provides the Dutchmen a rare bit of experience at the most important position on the floor.

3.) The Dutchmen’s other returnees—David Imes, Stephen Nwaukoni and Moussa Kone—fared a bit better by combining for 20 points, 23 rebounds and four blocks. Caution must be exercised in pro-rating these stats over 31 games, since Monmouth only played two players taller than 6-foot-7, but the Dutchmen will benefit if Imes can become a weapon from outside (both his field goals were 3-pointers, giving him one-third as many as he had last year) and Nwaukoni (11 rebounds) and Kone (a career-high 10 rebounds as well as six points on 4-of-6 shooting) can establish themselves on the boards.

4.) This season is all about, to quote Tom Pecora, early pain for late gain Nobody wants to hear that, but with nine newcomers—and Taran Buie and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, the two most anticipated imports, suspended for the first two games—it’s the truth. The growing pains began Friday, when newcomers accounted for 107 of the 200 minutes and nine players played at least 13 minutes. The latter happened just once last season, against Binghamton.

As for the newcomers, Jordan Allen, Kentrell Washington, Jimmy Hall, Shaq Stokes and Dallas Anglin combined to shoot just 9-of-35 with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 6:8, but it has to start somewhere. Stokes shared the team lead with 12 points, albeit on 4-of-12 shooting, while Anglin was just 1-of-11 shooting and Washington 0-for-4 with three turnovers.

5.) Hall was by far the brightest spot on an otherwise frustrating night. Hall looked like the rawest of the Dutchmen’s freshmen when he struggled in the second half of the Blue-White Scrimmage and didn’t play in the first half of the exhibition against Queens, after which Cassara hinted Hall had to develop off the court, as well. But Hall was the best player on the floor for the Dutchmen Friday when he pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds (including eight offensive boards) and scored 11 points in just 26 minutes off the bench. He is only the third Dutchmen to post a double-double in his collegiate debut since the turn of the century, joining Kenny Adeleke and Halil Kanacevic in the select club. This, of course, also means he has a 100% chance of finishing his career somewhere else. Welcome to life as a fan of the Flying Dutchmen, Molly!

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Monmouth 11/9)
3: Jimmy Hall
2: Moussa Kone
1: Shaq Stokes

3: Jimmy Hall
2: Moussa Kone
1: Shaq Stokes

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