With a lot of hype and a tough road schedule ahead, the Knights could have used this win. And to be fair, they had their chances. In front of another rowdy crowd of 9,137 people, the 10th largest crowd in program history, the Knights kept it close all game but they couldn’t get it done.
So what went wrong? Let’s go over the main points.
To put things simply, the Knights didn’t shoot the ball well, going 17-for-58 — 29.3%. Making only three three-pointers on 18 attempts also didn’t help against a Cougars team whose strength is shooting three-pointers. Both of those stats are the Knights’ lowest amount for the season.
But the real killer for the Knights was free-throw shooting. They were 21-33 from the line. In a game that was decided by five points, missing 12 shots is a real stinger.
After the game, CJ Walker expressed how disappointed the team was in their performance at the line.
“It’s just disappointing because they’re free,” Walker said “They’re free buckets. And at the end of the game when you look at how many you missed versus what the score is, it’s definitely disappointing.”
Sloppy Hero Ball
This is something we talked about in the KnightShift after the game. To us, it looked like hero ball, and those who were doing it looked sloppy. It felt like they would drive to the basket with the lone intent to draw a foul, all to miss the shot.
It all culminated in the Knights having three possessions in the final minute with a chance to either tie the game or take the lead, only for them to score no points on any of them.
Two stats show how bad it was in this game for the Knights:
- Six total assists
- Only one point off the bench
The Knights’ coaches and players have been saying the same thing all year: “We can’t rely on one guy.” Unfortunately, that’s what they did in this game and it cost them.
After the game head coach Johnny Dawkins said that the lack of assists was something he did not want to see.
“In this league, like all leagues, you gotta make connecting plays,” Dawkins said “You gotta connect with each other in order to be successful. And that number is unacceptable for us. It’s just way too low.”
There were some positives in tonight’s game. First of all, the Knights went toe-to-toe with another ranked opponent. that right there helps do what Coach Dawkins said they wanted to do and that’s “prove we belong.”
The Knights were excellent on defense. That is what kept them in this game. They were especially great when it came to rebounding, winning the rebound battle 44 to 38.
Ibrahima Diallo was the star of this stat with 19 rebounds, which is tied for the ninth most in program history and the most since Tacko Fall. After the game, he said he knew he needed to go harder on defense when he wasn’t doing well on offense.
“If that doesn’t go well, I have to play D.,” Diallo said.
The Knights have another matchup with a ranked opponent, this time on the road, as they travel to Austin to take on #25 Texas on Wednesday at 8 p.m.