Here are some words you’ve heard from me quite a lot lately: The Racers struggle, but find a way to make just enough plays down the stretch to pick up the win. Despite struggling from behind the arc, hitting under 28%, the Racers escape the only leg of the Death Valley trip they have to make this year in a 66-60 win over Morehead State.
“The difference in the game I thought was in the 2nd half we held them to 23 points, and only turned the ball over 3 times.”
-Head Coach Steve Prohm
Slow Start, Strong Finish: Throughout the season, we’ve seen the Racers hit that stretch where they just struggle to run their offense, only it’s rare to see if out of the games. The Racers had more turnovers than baskets in the first half, with 10 of the team’s 14 turnovers for the game occurring in the first 9 minutes. Over an early 8 minute stretch, the Racers scored just 2 points, and dug an 11-point hole.
But as we’ve seen all season, and as you would expect from an undefeated team, the team remained poised. During the drought, head coach Steve Prohm didn’t call a timeout, he just let his upperclassmen play through the struggle. Even though the Racers dug the double-digit hole, they pushed the game to a tie before half time, before allowing another mini-run to close out the half.
In the second half, the Racers were much more aggressive on offense, but just couldn’t get shot to fall. But their defense kept the Racers in check, and the offense came alive in the final 10 minutes, pushing the Racers to their 19th win on the season.
A different kind of win: This year, we’ve generally seen at least one of two things on the final stat sheets: The Racers dominated fast break points, or the Racers dominated from the 3-point line. Tonight, just 4 points on the break, despite forcing 19 Morehead state turnovers, and 5-18 shooting from 3-point range, one of their worst performances of the season.
But the Racers were able to get to the free throw line, and thanks to 10-11 shooting from Isaiah Cannan and 8-10 shooting from Donte Poole, they hit 23 free throws, more than Morehead State even attempted.
“We don’t play great when the game’s slowed down.”
To put it kindly, it was an ugly win. But as Prohm has stressed all season, he’ll take any win on the road.
The good and the bad of rebounding: The Racers clearly miss Ivan Aska on the defensive side of the ball, as Morehead’s only stating forward went a perfect 6-6 from the field, and pulled down 3 of the Eagles 11 offensive rebounds. But the Racers were strong on the offensive end as well, pulling down 12 offensive rebounds of their own. I think the frequency with which fouls were being called might have gotten into the minds of the players a bit, but again the Racers are still able to challenge on the glass with Aska sitting out, although they hardly dominated.