In Southern Indiana’s first men’s basketball loss of the season on Friday at the Fern Valley Hotel Classic in Louisville, the Eagles lived dangerously and got burned. Inconsistent play — particularly an inconsistent offense — resulted in a 77-76 loss to Nova Southeastern University in the final 2 seconds. It looked a lot like their last game, a 95-84 win over Notre Dame College during which USI let Notre Dame get within a point. But it was different Friday night as the Eagles didn’t score over the final minute. Thus they blew what was a 10-point lead early in the second half and sent into oblivion a massive 15-0 run in the first half that erased an 18-12 Sharks lead.
The main culprit was the defense again. Nova was just a much better team at hitting its open shots — in fact, it averaged 54.84 percent from the field in the second half (17-for-31). Coach Rodney Watson, among his comments lauding his team’s play, did point out one thing.
“The play-hard chart for us was at 35,” he said. “It’s got to be 50 on the road.”
I have never heard of the play-hard chart. Watson said it measures things like pass deflections made by USI’s players, charges taken, dives on the floor for loose balls, stuff like that.
“Not that guys weren’t playing hard,” he said. “We were just a little bit late. On the offensive end we’re still not executing sharp either.”
We’ll see if that’s been solved Saturday night when USI plays Cincinnati Clermont in the final round.