Nagy says men ‘have to start taking care of details’

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

Although the Jacks had a fast start, the Golden Grizzlies came back too early, causing the men’s basketball team to lose to Oakland 88-83 on Feb. 18 and to drop back to .500.

The Jacks (13-13, 9-6) ran out to an early 8-0 lead, but it didn’t last, as the Golden Grizzlies (22-8, 16-1) never trailed in the second half.

After being down by as many as 11 points, SDSU tied the game at 72 with a little more than five minutes left, but Oakland allowed only one Jackrabbit field goal in the final three minutes, which was not enough.

Despite playing the number one team in the conference close both times this season – the Jacks lost by three last month at home – SDSU head coach Scott Nagy said the team should not be patting itself on the back.

“We can’t be satisfied with moral victories at this point,” Nagy said. “We’ve gone from being a team that’s not very good to a team that’s pretty good. If we want to become a championship team, we have to start taking care of details.”

Senior Garrett Callahan, who led the Jacks with 16 points, all in the first half, said, “It’s just the little things.”

“We played (Oakland) well, so we know we can beat them,” Callahan said. “It’s just the little things like coach said, and just watching film the next few days and cleaning those things up. We will play with confidence down the stretch; don’t worry.”

Part of Callahan’s problem in the second half was a back injury, Nagy said.

“With Garrett, we have had to hold him out of practice for the most part because he has some back problems: a cracked vertebra,” Nagy said. “… So in the first half he did well, not to say that he didn’t do a good job defensively, but when you sit 15 minutes then try to come back out and play, you don’t have any lift. I’m not trying to make excuses for him. He’s a good player.”

Six Jacks scored in double-figures led by Callahan and Kai Williams, who also had 16. Point guards Michael Palarca and Nate Wolters each had 12, while Anthony Cordova and Clint Sargent pitched in with 11.

“You have six double-digits scorers, you should probably win the game,” Nagy said. “That’s what hurt because offensively, we played well enough to win the game.”

With the win, Oakland clinched at least a share of the Summit League regular season title, and after a win against North Dakota State on Feb. 20, the Grizzlies took sole possession of that title.

Nagy said that “it won’t be long” until the Jacks will be near the top of the conference like Oakland this year.

“We will be there,” Nagy said. “We have more talent than we had last year, we are stronger at the point guard position and that helps a lot. We returned all those guys with experience, which helps. It took us a year to get over that hump of wondering if we can play, and we have won every single game thinking we can win and that’s a big part.”