Today: Apr 23, 2024

Owls dropped late by Chargers

Sean Meenaghan — Photo Editor
Dominique Langston had 12 points and a team- leading eight rebounds.

RYAN FLYNNStaff Writer

Poor shooting, which has become a theme recently, cost the Owls men’s basketball team this past Saturday. They fell 63-51 to in-state rival UNH by shooting 31 percent overall and just over 18 percent from 3-point range. Despite this, Southern pulled within 2 with under a minute left but were unable to tie the game.

Coming in, the key was how Southern would deal with the University of New Haven’s size. The Chargers, with a frontcourt that featured two 6-foot-8 forwards, were likely one of the longest teams the Owls will play all year.

“We were real impressed with their size on film,” head coach Michael Donnelly said. “We knew that they were athletic, long, aggressive and good shot blockers. I am a little surprised that we had trouble handling that, because we’re an athletic team as well.”

The Owls jumped out to a 9-5 lead early but quickly surrendered to an 8-0 New Haven run, thanks mostly to the 3-point prowess of New Haven forward Eric Anderson, who went 3-for-3 from range overall. However, freshman reserve guard Tylon Smith led the Owls right back, and Southern held a 20-13 lead midway through the first half. Smith’s 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting was the spark that kept the team in the game, even despite the five Owls starters shooting a combined 13-for-56.

“As far as them creating difficulties for us, it was more, we—once they jumped out big and had a couple of big blocks—started to become hesitant,” Smith said.

New Haven closed out the half on a 5-0 run and left the Owls trailing 36-30 at the break. Southern would not grab the lead at all over the course of the second half but came within a single bucket on several occasions.

“We didn’t really find that good rhythm, and guys are going to have to learn how to make shots,” Donnelly said, “and it starts in practice. The way we go through shooting drills and things like that, I know we’re a much better shooting team than what we’ve shown. We’re just going to have to keep working and figure how we can get these guys’ confidence going to another level, because that’s what it is right now. We’re not playing with a lot of confidence from three.”

Star forward Trevon Hamlet had trouble asserting himself down low on the offensive end but did plenty on D. Hamlet recorded a game-high five blocks and held opposing big man Ade Barek to 2Sean Meenaghan — Photo Editor-of-7 from the floor. Hamlet also pulled in eight rebounds, but the Owls lost the battle of the boards handily 53-39.

Tylon Smith led the Owls with 13 points and added four rebounds.

Despite all of this, it was still a game. With one minute and thirty seconds remaining in the game, the Owls found themselves down 55-50 with the ball. Sophomore Dominique Langston took advantage of the important possession, draining a 3-pointer to pull Southern within two as the game entered its final minute. The Chargers missed a 3-pointer on the other end and Langston took off in transition, racing ahead to attempt a game-tying bucket. His lay-up, however, rimmed out, and the Chargers made the subsequent foul shots to ice the game.

Donnelly said afterwards that the team’s body language and energy throughout the game was a little concerning.

“I thought we were ready to play in this type of environment,” he said. “But, you know, it’s humbling because we’ve got a lot of work to do, and I know for a fact that we’ll get better and we’ll be a different team because of this.”

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