The Gun Show || Waite Scores 1,000th Point in Win Over St. Francis

The men’s basketball team split their games this weekend, losing to Long Island University Brook­lyn (LIU) and beating St. Fran­cis Brooklyn. The Hawks (10-17, 5-9) are a game and a half behind Central Connecticut for the eigth and final Northeast Conference (NEC) Tournament spot.

In the two games this weekend, senior forward Ed Waite averaged 23.5 points per game and reached 1,000 points in his career against St. Francis.

MU lost to LIU on Thursday 80-66. Seniors Jamal Olasewere scored 23 points and C.J. Garner tallied 20 points to lead the Black­birds (15-11, 10-4) to victory.

“I take my hat off to LIU,” Head Coach King Rice said. “Right now they’re a little better than us. I thought we played them well for about 28-30 minutes and then their main guys just kind of took over and were a little bit too much for us. I’m proud of my kids tonight, we just got beat by a bet­ter team.”

LIU jumped out to a 9-3 lead and five new Hawks were brought into the game at 17:01 in the first half. The lead grew to 20-11 be­fore MU was able to put some­thing together.

A Jesse Steele basket gave the Hawks their first lead at 6:38 in the first half, and two points from Stephen Spinella completed a 16-4 run that put MU ahead 27- 24.

The game went to halftime after Olasewere made a three-pointer at the buzzer and cut the Hawks’ lead to 38-35.

Olasewere left the game with three fouls with 12:53 to play and his Blackbirds trailing 48-46. He came back, a minute and 47 sec­onds later, trailing 52-51, and LIU would never be behind again. He scored the next five points to put his team ahead 56-51.

The Blackbirds went on a 13-0 run to grab a 63-52 lead.

“When people start going on a run, we just need to stop the bleeding,” Waite said. “And I don’t think we did that tonight.”

A basket by Waite cut the lead to nine with 5:44 to play, but that’s the closest the Hawks would get in this one.

Waite scored a game and ca­reer-high 24 points on 11 of 19 shooting. He added a pair of free throws and grabbed eight re­bounds.

The Hawks shot 10.5 percent from three-point range on Thurs­day, making only two of 19 at­tempts.

“It’s frustrating,” Steele said. “We should have driven a lot more when they went zone, got in the gaps and got in the middle, but we just kept shooting, and they just weren’t falling.”

Spinella recorded a double-double against the first place Blackbirds. He scored 13 points and tallied a game-high 10 re­bounds.

MU bounced back with a 73-64 win over St. Francis on Saturday. Steele scored 26 and Waite added 23, going 10 of 11 from the field.

“Jesse just controlled the whole game,” Rice said. “Even when they made their runs, even when they got up, it was obvious that they could not guard him. He made great decisions against the zone.”

Waite reached the 1,000-point milestone at one of the most cru­cial points in the game. Tied at 47 with 10:18 to play, he put up a shot and was fouled. Count the basket, and one. He let out a roar as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. The free throw was good and the Hawks led 50-47.

“To get it on an ‘and one’ was a great feeling inside,” Waite said. “I feel like I really did leave my mark here by reaching 1,000.”

“In the locker room we cele­brated with him,” Rice said. “I’m so proud of him.”

The Terriers’ (10-15, 6-8) only lead of the second half was 51-50 with 8:51 to play after P.J. San­tavenere made a couple of free throws. Waite made another la­yup 41 seconds later and MU never trailed again.

The Hawks went on a 6-0 run when the game was tied at 55. A couple free throws from Steele, a jumper by Marcus Ware and two more free throws from Dion Ne­smith put them ahead 61-55 with 3:35 on the clock.

St. Francis tried to inch closer, but Steele wouldn’t miss his foul shots. He was six of six from the free throw line in the final 39 sec­onds (10 of 10 in the game).

“I always practice free throws,” Steele said. “I always make 50 before each game actually, before shoot-around. So I just step up there confident.”

“I kept looking at the clock and I’m like, ‘We’re going to make our free throws guys and we’re going to win the game’,” Rice said. “Our press offense is set up to get Jesse the ball. He’s too fast for any one guy to keep him from getting it.”

Steele’s 26-point performance was two points shy of his career-high set last week against Fair­leigh Dickinson. He was seven of 14 from the field, including two of four from three-point range.

Travis Nichols led the Terriers in scoring. He recorded 20 points on eight of 14 shooting, four of eight from beyond the arc.

The Hawks have two road NEC games this week. On Thursday they travel to Robert Morris (18- 9, 10-4) and Saturday they have a game against Saint Francis (PA) (3-22, 3-11).

PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography