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ISSUE 120 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 12/1/2006

Men rebound with two wins

By Shoshanna Blank
Staff Writer

Friday, December 1, 2006

After opening its season with two consecutive losses, the St. Olaf men's basketball team rebounded with two victories of its own.

In a 75-48 win over Crown College on Saturday, freshman Mark Torrell led the Oles with 16 points.

"The Crown game gave us a chance to play a lot of players. The starting five got off to such a great start it gave all the other players a chance to play," head coach Dan Kosmoski said. "I think overall, we are a deep team. Any one of our 14 players will have an opportunity to play."

The Oles displayed the strength of their bench as 11 players were in the scoring column. The team also out-rebounded Crown 39-26.

"I think we have the size, the strength and the ability to out-rebound the teams that we play," Kosmoski said. "We're a transition team. We like to run, and in order to run you have to rebound."

On Monday, the Oles got past Martin Luther 69-59. Bobby Hunter '08 led the way with a career-high 20 points and Jon Bain '07 added 13 of his own.

"The captains have been giving us great leadership," Kosmoski said. "They have gotten us off to a good start. It's always good to see someone step up. I believe that each game we will see someone different being able to help this team win."

The Oles suffered a 60-57 loss in their home opener to Luther College on Nov. 20, largely attributed to their free throw shooting percentage. The team shot 57.7 percent from the charity stripe, while Luther shot 82.6 percent. With both teams in the double bonus for much of the second half, if the Oles could have shot a reasonable percentage, results might have been different.

"We had opportunities to go out and win that game," Kosmoski said. "Free throw shooting cost us."

Just as the team has a core of returning players, Kosmoski believes the MIAC has a bunch of teams who could go for the title this year.

"It's all about matchups," Kosmoski said. "The conference is going to be absolutely wide open. There might be some teams that talent wise might be slightly favored, but I believe that if you're mentally and physically prepared you've got a great chance to win every night."

Now 2-2, the Oles travel to St. Thomas to take on the perennial MIAC power at 1 p.m. on Dec. 2. The Oles resume their home schedule on Dec. 4 against Concordia. Tip off is set for 5:45 p.m.

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