Turnovers, fouls and inconsistent field goal shooting contribute to 22 point loss
By: CHRISTIAN HARGAS
The Saint Louis Community College Archers lost, 75-53, to the Grizzlies of Missouri State-West Plains on Feb. 3. Prior to the contest, the Archers were winners of nine of their previous 12 games before losing back-to-back games for the first time since early December. Head Coach Terry Collins said there was more than one problem that contributed to the 22 point loss.
“We did a very poor job of running the floor, sprinting back on defense and then running the fast break on offense,” Collins said. “We just did a poor job of running the floor tonight and it cost us.”
Freshman Forward Aleksa Ocokoljic said the team did not execute what Collins wanted from them.
“The first thing he wanted from us was to play tough defense because they [Missouri State-West Plains] are a really good team,” Ocokoljic said. “They have a lot of fast breaks, and they are scoring around 89 points per game. So, we needed to play tough defense and we just didn’t.”
There were inconsistencies in offensive positioning throughout the game when they needed to have better position on the ball, Ocokoljic said.
“We did a little bit of that, but not enough,” Ocokoljic said. “Everybody wanted to have a one-game show, so we didn’t execute our offense like we usually do. Our shooting was not accurate, that just happens. Somedays you can shoot well and other days you do not.”
The Archers trailed, 29-14, in the second quarter before finishing the first half on a 10-1 run. In the second half, STLCC was outscored 45-29. There were no halftime adjustments, Collins said.
“We never executed any part of our game plan the whole night,” Collins said. “There was no need to change anything because we did not execute the plan that we had, we just never did.”
Staying sharp was a major inconsistency, Ocokoljic said.
“We needed to be focused on what was happening,” Ocokoljic said. “When everything was going down, we just were not as focused as the other team.”
The Archers shot 39 percent on field goal shooting and turned the ball over 17 times. Sloppy play in the first half prevented momentum from carrying on into the second half, Collins said.
“What really happened was that both teams played poorly in the first half,” Collins said. “Whoever was going to play well was going to take control of the game. They [Missouri State-West Plains] took control while we continued to play poorly. They just dominated us from the very beginning of the second half, and that was the game.”
Sophomore Guard Nate Rigmaiden led the team in scoring with 15 points. Sophomore Guard Marcell Lee led with nine offensive rebounds.
The Archers had eight players on the floor for the game. Fatigue among the starters was another contributing factor to the struggles, Ocokoljic said.
“We had eight or nine players and five of them are playing around or over 30 minutes,” Ocokoljic said. “They [starters] just get tired. When the starters get tired, they might make more mistakes because they just run out of energy or lose a little bit of focus.”
Following this loss, and last Saturday’s loss to North Central Missouri, the Archer’s record stands at 10-13. They fall to 0-5 against conference opponents this season and are 3-7 at home. With a record of 5-6 on the road, the team seems to enjoy more success playing away from STLCC, Ocokoljic said.
“Personally, I think we play a lot better on the road,” Ocokoljic said. “I just feel like myself along with everyone else on the team feels more confident when we play away from home and our scores reflect that.”
During the fourth quarter, the STLCC and Missouri State-West Plains benches cleared as words were exchanged between the two teams. Nothing was made of it, Collins said.
“That did not have any effect on the game,” Collins said.
More frustration occurred during the fourth quarter as the Archers fans began to display hostility toward Collins, questioning his ability to coach the team and his management of the game time roster. Collins said he was not affected by the fans remarks.
“That stuff does not bother me,” Collins said.
Some of the players did not take to kindly of the remarks toward their head coach, Ocokoljic said.
“I did not like it,” Ocokoljic said. “Everyone is a general after the fight, after the battle. In this case, they are generals from the side. They are not on the court, they do not feel what we are feeling. We always try to give them what they came to see, but sometime it does not happen. But if they are not supporting us as they should, then that is on them. We cannot let that get inside of our heads.”
The Archers are 9-5 in their last 14 games. Overcoming a conference loss in the question on the team’s mind, Collins said.
“We will have to see if we are tough enough to come back from a really poor performance,” Collins said. “We may not have that toughness or we may have it, but we will find out soon.”