Mac looks for positives in mini-slump

sports
January 26, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Brandon Meawasige

Assistant Sports Editor

 

In the span of just over 24 hours this past weekend the McMaster Marauders went from being a top seeded team in the OUA, defying the stigma of their youth to becoming a victim of the negative side effects of inexperience.

After losing back-to-back games in Thunder Bay at the hands of their counterparts from Lakehead University, the Marauders, according to head coach Amos Connolly, must bounce back with confidence and use the losses as a learning experience to improve for the future.

“I haven’t seen 20 points go on the board that fast in a long time. [Lakehead] put up 34 points in the third quarter. In that scenario where you have to wonder what mentality both teams have coming out of half time. That’s where the difference in experience can show itself,” Connolly said, evaluating the difference between his players and their opponent.

“When you play more experienced, hardened athletes in a game that’s more physical, they will more often have the advantage. We have found that in our games against Windsor and Lakehead. We have had a tough time beating them to the rim, we fouled them early, and turnovers didn’t go our way.”

Although the results offered a harsh reality for the team, Connolly maintains that looking to the positive is the best route for this tame to take both on and off the court.

“We have played four very tough games in our first six games back after the break but we have to look at the fact that we are competing with these teams. That’s what we have to take from that.”

Even at the most optimistic points of this season, the road ahead is far from friendly for Mac as they compete in an extremely tough conference that has no break in a long schedule of tough opponents.

“There are no gifts in this conference. It is both a good and a bad thing. There is nowhere you look for an easy win. You cannot look at it that way, you just have to play your best basketball against every team,” Connolly said, adding “There is an identity that we need to have no matter who we are playing. We need to learn from the high caliber teams that we have played. I’d have our guys understand that this is the level we need to play at. ”

With none of the remaining opponents to be taken lightly, the team will have to continue to work hard in order to compete for a favorable playoff position. A lot of that will be the attitude the men take onto the court with them.

“Somewhere these guys need to find the confidence that we are a good basketball team. Even though we’re young, there is still this ability to hang with these teams. What I don’t want is for us to worry too much about the teams that we’re playing, and worry about ourselves and play our game, where the focus is on defense, execution and the ability to create scores,” said Connolly.

The first chance for the Marauders to rebound from their mini-slump ended with a 82-78 victory in their Wednesday night matchup against the Guelph Gryphons at Burridge Gymnasium.

“What you can expect from Guelph is a very tough and gritty team. There is no question that they are going to work. We cannot get out worked by them on our own court.” Connolly said before the game on Wednesday.

Secondary leadership and scoring was an issue for the Marauders in their coming weekend games.

As a result, Connolly hopes that his team will continue to work hard and that individual players on the team will take it upon themselves to make an impact on the results of the game saying, “We have to go to work, that’s what I need to see from this team. We need someone other than Victor, because we can expect that from him, to say ‘I am not going to get outworked tonight.’”

The win comes as a welcome demonstration of this attitude adjustment. Rookie Guard Adam Persutti scored 27 points including 10 of 11 from the charity stripe. “ When I look at that stat line” says Connolly holding the score sheet in his hands “ I see the future. We need [Adam] to realize that he can take over games and do so”.

“We did allot of good things in our win tonight” Connolly shared post-game. With the win the Marauders improve to record of 10-5, re-joining the OUA leader pack after their brief absence.

Being able to compete in what is such a difficult conference can only be taken as a positive for the men’s basketball team. With hard work and the talent available on the roster, the future looks bright for this young team.

 

 

 

 

 

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