Pack Basketball had a championship game to play tonight against the Cowboys of Oklahoma State.Â Unfortunately someone forgot to tell them.
The Cowboys out-worked, out-hustled, and out-gutted the Pack in every facet of the game.Â The result was a 20 point drubbing which could have been much worse, quite frankly.
With few exceptions, the Pack was off as a team, and no one player stood out as the worst, but that’s by no means a positive since many struggled equally.Â CJ Leslie picked up his 3rd foul before the break, and fouled out of the game only minutes into the second half when he committed a silly foul to pick up his 4th, and then compounded it with a technical foul.Â He finished the game with 2 pts on 1/5 shooting, and 4 rebounds.
Zo Brown and Scott Wood struggled nearly as much.Â Zo finished with 6pts on a 2/9 night with only one assist.Â Wood was 1/11 (1/6 3pt), also finishing with 6pts.
Lest we not point out the bright spots, TJ Warren and Rodney Purvis did show up to play, and also showed significantly more sack than their mopey veteran teammates, both hustling and working until the final buzzer.
Warren finished with 15 pts on 7/12 shooting, while Purvis dumped in 16 points on a 6/13 effort.
Richard Howell added 6 (but also fouled out, but not until the issue was long since decided), and Thomas DeThaey came off the bench to add 5 to round out the scoring…what little there was anyway.
So, what does this mean?
It means exactly what many of us said for months leading up to the season….that there were going to be growing pains.Â We looked like warmed over excrement tonight, and worse….we looked like we didn’t care that we looked like warmed over excrement (save for Warren and Purvis….hat tip to those two young men for gutting out what had to be an excruciating night).
This team needs to learn to play together, especially when things aren’t clicking, as well as to work on some fundamentals (FTs, transition and perimeter defense, shot selection, etc.).Â I have little doubt that they will.Â Losing a game like this in November is no reason to panic and can sometimes be the wake up call a team like this…one that really hasn’t had to work to win going away before tonight…needs to become mentally tough and a more cohesive unit.
This staff has shown remarkable acumen at handling personalities and handling adversity.Â I expect no different now.Â We’re not as good as some of you wanted to believe.Â But we’re also not as bad as some of you are believing right now.
There will be more off nights like tonight.Â The question is how we handle them and whether we learn anything from tonight’s experience.Â I believe we will, and hopefully by season’s end we can look back to Oklahoma State as an overall positive in the development of the team.
Having said that, it still feels pretty bad right now.Â So go and commiserate with one another and bemoan how bad we played tonight (and we DID play bad, so feel free to break a few things too if it helps).
But don’t write this team off just because of tonight.Â If you weren’t expecting this at some point here in the early going then like them, you were buying into the press clippings a bit too much.
That’s what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we’ve changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games.
RICHARD BACH, The Bridge Across Forever
Be sure to make your way over to the SFN Forums and join in on all the great topics that have been on fire over there.Â It’s worth your time….I promise