ANDREW ANASTASIO — Special to Southern News
Dominique Langston drove to the hoop in the final seconds with the hope of tying the game, drawing a foul or both. His shot was blocked, and Southern’s comeback bid fell just short, resulting in their second straight loss.
The Owls were defeated 69-67 by the Southern New Hampshire Penmen.
“We need to find a way to win at home and finish out games,” said Langston.
A game that saw 13 lead changes and eight ties proved to be a hard-fought battle between the Owls of SCSU and the Penmen of SNHU. At the beginning of the second half, the Penmen reversed the Owls’ 37-36 halftime lead into an eight point deficit. With 10 minutes to go in the second half, the Owls committed several fouls which caused the momentum to abruptly switch in favor of SNHU.
From there, the Owls suffered a three-minute dry spell where they didn’t score a single point. Behind freshman forward Aleksandar Dobrovic, who finished the game with 15 points, SNHU continued its onslaught to gain a 12-point advantage with eight minutes left.
In an attempt to slow down the Penmen’s attack, Owls head coach Mike Donnelly coordinated his defense into a full-court press.
“Guys started to make an extra effort,” said Donnelly. “We looked quicker, more confident, more assertive. Good things were happening.”
The Owls mediated SNHU’s fast-paced offense behind a pivotal steal with three minutes left by freshman guard Tylon Smith. Smith aggressively swiped the ball from the defender at half court, which resulted in an easy lay up.
“We wanted it more,” said Smith. “It just happened that he fumbled the ball. I took it and took it in for a lay up. Too bad it could not lead to a ‘w’ but things happen.”
Over the last two-and-a-half minutes of the game the Owls defense came up with major turnovers and capitalized on the opportunities. The Owls with 1:04 left to go in regulation trailed by only four points. On their next possession, SNHU’s B.J. Cardarelli intentionally fouled SCSU’s sophomore guard/ forward Greg Langston. Greg Langston capitalized on the free throws to bring the Owls within two points.
On the proceeding inbounds play, the Owls tied the game at 66. Fouling to stop the clock, SNHU senior forward Tory Stapleton converted on three of four free throws to stretch the Penmen’s lead to 69-67. That would be the final margin following Langston’s miss.
“I feel like we tried our best until the end,” said Dominique Langston. “We should have played our hardest from the start. Southern New Hampshire is a good team, we are a good team. We just didn’t capitalize on our home court.”
The Owls, now 4-6 at home, are consciously looking to get back on track at Moore Fieldhouse.
Despite two consecutive losses, the Owls remain optimistic about their next opponent, Bentley.
“There’s no reason why we can’t go up to Bentley, play hard and compete,” said Donnelly. “We have seen Bentley on tape. They are a very good team—well-coached—but I think we have a good team. I think we will have the ability to give them everything we have.”