Last night, in front of about 1,200 fans at the MAC Center in West Long Branch, the Monmouth University Hawks welcomed back Center Travis Taylor in a 76 – 67 win over Northeast Conference rival the Wagner College Seahawks. Taylor returned in big fashion against the Seahawks having a career high scoring day with 30 points. This victory brings Monmouth to .500 in the NEC with a record of 7 – 7. The Hawks need to keep on winning as the season draws to a close if they want to secure a playoff berth in the NEC Tournament. For detailed stats from last night’s game, head over to the Monmouth Athletics website by clicking here.
It really is amazing the difference that one player can make on a team’s performance. Taylor put up almost 40% of the Hawks’ points for the night. That’s crazy. And what’s even better is that he’s only a Sophomore…
Aside from Taylor’s return after a seven game suspension, there were a lot of other things going on at last night’s game. For example, last night was the first time that the Wagner team has been to Monmouth’s campus since the end of last season, when Wagner obliterated the Hawks by 31 points in the last game played at the Boylan Gymnasium. The leading scorer for the Seahawks during that win was a guy named Joey Mundweiler (who also broke the NEC record for most three pointers in a single game during that game). Last night’s leading scorer for Wagner was Danny Mundweiler, Joey’s younger brother. Taylor commented on last year’s loss to the Asbury Park Press before last night’s game:
“Last year was embarrassing to leave Boylan like that,” Taylor said. “It’s a pride thing. You’re never supposed to lose like that, especially your last game in the gym. So this game should be taken to heart.”
And Taylor definitely took last night’s game to heart, as did the rest of the Hawks. Taylor’s career-high game was complimented by the consistency of guys like James Hett and Will Campbell, a Junior and Sophomore, respectively. When you add in the leadership of a guy like Senior Whitney Coleman and the raw talent of someone like Freshman Ed Waite, then you have a pretty formidable team in this year’s Hawks. Hett and Campbell have become two of my favorite players on the Hawks and I think that they have all of the potential in the world. Like all young athletes, I suspect that their off-season training will be key in deciding how far they go next year and into the future.
As for the total team itself, while there’s no way to know how Monmouth would have fared if Taylor wasn’t suspended for the last seven games, the Hawks still have a chance to make it to the NEC Tournament. After last night’s victory they are tied for sixth place in the NEC where only the top 8 teams make it into the conference tournament. Monmouth needs to keep on winning to stay in the playoff hunt.
I didn’t take as many pictures as usual during last night’s game. The reason for this is because due to a prior commitment I won’t be able to make Monmouth’s last home game for the season on Saturday, February 27th. So last night’s game was likely the last time I’ll see Monmouth at the MAC Center until next season and I opted to spend more time cheering for the team instead of taking pictures. I think that the pictures that I did take, though, are pretty decent – I hope you enjoy them!